US official doubts Iran can find alternative to cent. bank

May 11, 2012 02:14

WASHINGTON - A top US Treasury official said on Thursday that he was skeptical that Iran could find an alternative payment system to its central bank, which is the target of US sanctions aimed at depriving Tehran of funds needed to develop its nuclear program.

"It's fair to say that we are going to be very skeptical about efforts to develop alternative payment methods," David Cohen, Treasury's Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said at an event in Washington.

"Our presumption going in is anyone buying oil from Iran is ultimately paying the central bank of Iran, even if there is some intermediary step," he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies think-tank.

The Western sanctions against Iran are designed to deprive Iran of funds needed for its nuclear program by stopping financial institutions from conducting oil transactions with Iran's central bank.

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