New US plot against Iranian banks

In its bid to halt Iran’s nuclear program, the US has called on Turkey to be ‘vigilant’ over financial operations with Iranian banks.

The US Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart A. Levey called on Ankara to be ‘vigilant’ over financial operations with state-run Iranian banks, AP said.

Levey said Ankara should scrutinize activities of Turkish-based branches of Mellat Bank since Washington arbitrarily blacklisted Banks – Melli, Mellat and Saderat to coerce Iran to suspend its nuclear program, which Tehran asserts is for domestic purposes only.

“Iran uses its banks for its missile programs in particular,” he claimed.

“It is essential to share information, to discuss risks …, and vigilance that is required to ensure that Turkey’s financial institutions are not abused by Iranian financial institutions and state-owned banks,” the official continued.

The US imposed sanctions against Iranian banks in October to force countries world over to stop doing business with Tehran.

Although some banks in Europe and Japan bowed to US pressure, a host of analysts and diplomats believe that the move has proved futile.

They opine that the Bush administration’s controversial policy of slapping sanctions on Iranian banks is facing a critical challenge, as financial institutions in Russia, China, and much of the Middle East have declined to cut ties with Iranian banks.

MK/FH/RA