Thus, Bank Tejarat, which has nearly 2,000 branches in Iran and branches in France and Tajikistan, along with Trade Capital Bank will no longer be able to access the US financial system.
The U.S. Treasury Department yesterday announced sanctions against Bank Tejarat, the third-largest bank in Iran, accusing it of providing financial services to the country’s banks and companies subject to international restrictions for involvement in Iran’s nuclear program, according to Bloomberg.
Moreover, the U.S. government claimed that Bank Tejarat had directly facilitated Iran’s nuclear efforts, for example by helping in the movement last year of tens of millions of dollars in an effort to assist Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization to acquire yellowcake uranium.
The targeting of Bank Tejarat is the latest salvo in a stepped-up campaign by the U.S. and EU to persuade Iran to abandon suspected efforts to gain nuclear weapons capability, Bloomberg reported. But Iran says it is enriching uranium solely for peaceful purposes.
“At a time when banks around the world are cutting off Iran and its currency is depreciating rapidly, today’s action against Bank Tejarat strikes at one of Iran’s few remaining access points to the international financial system,” David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial Intelligence, said in a statement. “Today’s sanction against Bank Tejarat will deepen Iran’s financial isolation, make its access to hard currency even more tenuous, and further impair Iran’s ability to finance its illicit nuclear program.”
However, many Western analysts believe that sanctions against Iran would be ineffective.
Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Global Post, UPI, Asr Iran