MOSCOW - A state-controlled Russian bank is closing down the accounts of Iranian embassy staff in Moscow in a step criticized by Ambassador Seyed Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi as surrendering to US-led financial sanctions against Tehran.
Sajjadi said on Friday that the shutdown had been ordered at short notice by VTB24, the retail banking arm of Russia's second-largest bank VTB, and that his own credit card had been blocked.
The closure of the embassy staff's personal accounts, confirmed by VTB24, comes as Washington steps up efforts to block Iran's ability to conduct financial transactions and force it to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.
In a blog post headlined "VTB24 surrenders to the mercy of the USA" Sajjadi wrote that the bank had told embassy staff on Thursday to close their accounts by the end of the working day on Friday, or risk losing their deposits.
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