Iran General NewsIran warns foreign banks over US pressure

Iran warns foreign banks over US pressure

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AFP: Iran’s new central bank chief Tuesday warned foreign banks which have cut business with Tehran amid the ongoing dispute over its nuclear programme that they would lose out if they returned to the country. TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran’s new central bank chief Tuesday warned foreign banks which have cut business with Tehran amid the ongoing dispute over its nuclear programme that they would lose out if they returned to the country.

“A certain number of foreign banks have decided to cease all relations with the banks here and even companies in which Iran has a stake,” Tahmasb Mazaheri, who took over at the central bank last month, told a news conference.

“We summoned their representatives and we said that their decision was not professional and had no justification.

“Such a decision is unacceptable. It is a political decision and we told them that we will not forget and we will give an adequate response when the moment comes — when these banks want to come back to Iran.”

The United States, seeking to crank up the pressure on Iran outside the framework of UN sanctions, has lent on European banks in a bid to get them to sever their ties with Iran.

European giants HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse have pulled out of Iran while BNP Paribas, Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank have severely curtailed their business with the Islamic republic.

The United States is pushing for a third UN resolution imposing wider economic sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme, which Washington alleges is aimed at making an atomic weapon but which Iran insists is peaceful.

Washington already has a unilateral trade embargo in place against Tehran, and US officials have said they are prepared to step up sanctions outside the UN framework.

Asked about Iran’s response to further economic sanctions, Mazaheri replied: “We are prepared to face all situations.”

“If the situation becomes more difficult, we have prepared plans to counter the damage that the enemies wish to inflict on us,” he said.

France has also said it wants EU states to take their own economic steps to punish Tehran in parallel to the drive to secure new UN sanctions.

The spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week European firms could be recommended “not to bid for new markets in Iran, and for financial institutions to scale back their operations, to lower their investments.”

Certain European countries, most notably Italy, France and Germany, have economic interests in the Islamic republic and also export a variety of specialised and household goods to the country.

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