'Iran is secretly setting up banks in Muslim countries'

Report: Teheran attempting to avoid banking sanctions by using fake names; two such banks already open in Iraq.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 21, 2010 12:16
1 minute read.
Brazilian Ambassador to the UN Maria Ribeiro Viott

UNSC vote on Iran sanctions. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Iran is secretly setting up banks in Muslim countries around the world under fake names in order avoid sanctions, US officials told The Washington Post on Thursday.

The Treasury Department banned 16 Iranian banks that allegedly supported the Iranian nuclear program and other terrorist activities, and many other countries have passed similar measures. Iran's new banks show that sanctions have been effective, US officials reportedly said.

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"The Iranians, we believe, are trying to set up operations in a number of places, and it's an indication that they can't do normal banking," a senior administration official told The Washington Post. "They want to buy banks and set up banks in various places where they believe they will be able to carry out business without the United States being able to impede it."

The US official said the White House is aware of Iran's efforts in "a number of neighboring countries and not-so-neighboring countries," such as Iraq and Malaysia.

Teheran has established at least two banks in Baghdad, Iraqi officials said, and has tried, unsuccessfully to establish more, in the Kurdistan area.

Treasury officials have reportedly crossed the globe recently, in order to convince countries like Azerbaijan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Lebanon to cooperate with sanctions.

Last month, Iran offered Azerbaijan to create a joint bank for the two countries, according to Azeri news reports. The country has a branch of Iran's largest commercial bank, Bank Melli.


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