Iran General NewsIran bank denies weapons charges by U.S. Treasury

Iran bank denies weapons charges by U.S. Treasury

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ImageReuters: The Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) denied on Thursday U.S. Treasury charges it was a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and said Washington had taken the step to try to cover up its own economic woes.

ImageTEHRAN (Reuters) – The Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) denied on Thursday U.S. Treasury charges it was a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and said Washington had taken the step to try to cover up its own economic woes.

The U.S. Treasury Department named the bank a proliferator on Wednesday. Once branded as such, all transactions between an organisation and Americans are banned and any assets that the company has within U.S. jurisdiction can be seized.

The United States has targeted several big Iranian state banks with sanctions, namely Bank Mellat, Bank Melli, Bank Sedarat and Bank Sepah, in a bid to isolate Iran for its nuclear work that Washington says is designed to build bombs. Tehran denies the charge.

Iranian officials have brushed off the impact of such steps. But analysts say the measures are pushing up costs of doing business for Iranian firms, particularly as Western banks have been cutting back or shutting down business links to Iran.

"The bank will file a complaint with relevant authorities in order to preserve its rights against the U.S. Treasury for its interventionist measure," EDBI said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

It did not say where it would file any complaints.

"The EDBI strongly rejects the groundless claims by the U.S. Treasury and regards this measure as a propaganda move in order to cover up the consequences of the recent American economic crisis," it said, adding the charge had "no legal basis" and that the bank always worked within the law.

The U.S. Treasury also designated three other enterprises as proliferators that it said were linked to EDBI. They are the EDBI Stock Brokerage Company and the EDBI Exchange Company, both in Iran, and Banco Internacional de Desarollo C.A. of Venezuela.

(Reporting by Hossein Jaseb and Hashem Kalantari; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Caroline Drees)

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