Bloomberg: The Bush administration will freeze any U.S. assets of Future Bank B.S.C., a Bahrain-based bank controlled by an Iranian lender linked to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
By Jeff Bliss
March 12 (Bloomberg) — The Bush administration will freeze any U.S. assets of Future Bank B.S.C., a Bahrain-based bank controlled by an Iranian lender linked to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
Treasury said Future Bank is being controlled by Bank Melli, Iran’s largest financial institution. Last year the Bush administration cut off Bank Melli from the U.S. financial system because of alleged proliferation and terrorism activities.
The sanctions on Future Bank are a continuation of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran from the world financial community. Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey and other Treasury officials have been encouraging foreign banks to stop doing business in Iran.
“Banks and other entities owned or controlled by Bank Melli pose a serious threat to the integrity of the international financial system,” Levey said in the statement.
Efforts to reach Future Bank and Bank Melli officials by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.
The Treasury statement said Bahrain’s government has taken “responsible steps” aimed at preventing Future Bank from “abusing” the country’s financial system. Bahrain hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf’s oil shipping lanes.
In a March 5 letter to President George W. Bush, 26 senators urged that Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi, should be designated a supporter of terrorism.
The lawmakers are searching for ways to increase pressure on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brushed off a third round of United Nations sanctions imposed last week.