US attack on Iran begins – via financial sanctions


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Iran vows legal action on US move against Bank Saderat


SINGAPORE, Sept 16 (AFP): Iran has vowed to take legal action to challenge US 
sanctions on the Iranian lender Bank Saderat and has said it is considering 
shifting some of its foreign exchange reserves out of the dollar.

"We intend to take all legal recourse available to us and expect the 
International Monetary Fund (IMF)... also to take an appropriate stance against 
this unilateral and illegal action, that can seriously disturb international 
payments," the head of the Iranian central bank, Ibrahim Sheibany, told the 
newspaper Emerging Markets in an interview appearing here Saturday.

The US Treasury Department announced September 8 it had taken steps to prevent 
Bank Saderat, one of Iran's largest lenders, from doing any business with 
US-owned banks on grounds that it supports terrorism.

"Bank Saderat facilitates Iran's transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars to 
(the Lebanese Shiite movement) Hezbollah and other terrorist organisations each 
year," said Stuart Levey, undersecretary for terrorism and financial 

Sheibany told Emerging Markets: "This move may cause us to distance ourselves 
from (the dollar), and I'm sure other countries are looking at us. Even now we 
are using other currencies, and this encourages us to get away from the dollar."

He said Iran could place its oil-generated revenues into "neighbours' banks," 
such as those in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain, and added: "We also have very good 
relations with European banks."

US Treasury Undersecretary Tim Adams told reporters earlier this week that 
financing for terrorism and "proliferation activities" would be on the agenda 
for Saturday's meeting here of finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7), 
Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

"Keeping the global financial system free from illicit activities, from those 
who seek to use it for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other 
activities is vital," he said.

Sheibany insisted that the US action was "100 per cent political."
"Our banks are very transparent."

He said Iran's specific challenge to the sanctions had yet to be determined but 
stressed that Tehran would "actively pursue" its arguments both legally and 
through the IMF, according to Emerging Markets.

Saturday's G7 meeting will be followed by the annual assembly here of the IMF 
and the World Bank.

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