Iran General NewsMoney floods out of Iran as election crisis continues

Money floods out of Iran as election crisis continues


ImageDaily Telegraph: Millions of pounds in private wealth has begun flooding out of Iran in the wake of mass demonstrations which have paralysed commercial life after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


The Daily Telegraph

Millions of pounds in private wealth has begun flooding out of Iran in the wake of mass demonstrations which have paralysed commercial life after the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

ImageFears of a new round of crippling sanctions are also thought to have fuelled the movement of money out of the country.

Western intelligence agencies have reported that prominent private businesses and wealthy families have moved tens of millions of dollars out of Iranian banks into overseas accounts.

The Italian foreign intelligence service is said to have detected multiple transactions, each of up to $10 million dollars, by Iran's big four banks on behalf of Iranian families seeking a safe haven for funds.

Iran has already been hit by three rounds of financial sanctions from the UN over its nuclear programme, which have limited its access to international finance and world trade

A spokesman for HM Treasury hinted that further action could be taken, particularly in relation to Mojbata Khamenei, the powerful son of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who runs his father's office.

"We do not have this person on the sanctions list and while we do put people on the list on human rights grounds we do it very much in conjunction with the EU and the UN," the spokesman said.

"We can be very aggressive in pushing within those bodies, though I'm not saying we're doing so in this case."

It came as one of Iran's leading foreign investors, the Austrian oil and gas firm OMV, said it would not invest any more money in a large offshore gas project and gave warning that it would pull out of the country if Iran demanded more cash.

Helmut Langanger, its Iran representative, said the political environment would have to improve before it put any move money into the giant South Pars offshore gas field.

"They are proceeding with the project on their own without us," he said.

In the US, Republican congressman Mark Kirk has claimed there is growing support for a bill he is sponsoring which would strip American support for foreign companies supplying refined petroleum to Iran.

Iran is a large oil producer but decades of financial isolation means it must import petrol and other end products from abroad.

Reliance, the Indian operator, provides one-third of Iran's daily needs while also enjoying a massive trade loan from the US.

Another bill that would exclude companies involved in the trade from doing business in the US was put on hold earlier this year as a gesture from President Barack Obama to improve relations.

The fallout from the pro-democracy demonstrations is expected to embroil Iran and the Gulf in a new cycle of instability.

Sami Alfaraj, a leading Gulf expert, warned Iran was unpredictable and that meant the stability of the oil-rich region was in the balance.

"Iran could launch foreign attacks," the director of the Kuwait Centre for Strategic Studies said. "It could disrupt the shipping lanes of the Gulf, drive up the cost of doing business, use its cells in Egypt and Iraq or Jordan to create havoc, trigger a new confrontation with Israel. All these options would have an economic impact. We have all reached an affinity of threat from Iran."

The leading contender in the rigged presidential election, Mir-Hossein Mousavi has targeted the influential business class by calling on merchants to close their businesses. Tehran's bazaar, which covers two square miles and plays an economic role similar to the City of London, is mostly closed but some shops have opened.

Latest news

What Gas Poisonings In Iran Tell Us About The Ruling Regime

For months schools in Iran have been in the crosshairs of gas attacks against the country’s children. The mullahs’...

Iran’s Regime Inches Toward Nuclear Weapons

Iran’s regime is once again at the center of a dangerous escalation of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. A...

US Congress Expresses Support for Iranian People’s Quest for a Democratic, Secular Republic

Several bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives have presented a resolution (H. RES. 100) supporting the Iranian...

Wave Of Poisoning Attacks Against Schools Leave Hundreds Sick

Iran has been shaken for three months by serial poisoning attacks against all-girls schools, which has left more than...

Iranian Security Forces Beat Baluch Doctor To Death

On Thursday, February 23, activists in Sistan and Baluchestan provinces reported the news of the death of Dr. Ebrahim...

World Powers Should Hear The Voice Of Iranians, Not Dictators And Their Remnants

Iran’s nationwide uprising continues despite its ups and down. The clerical system’s demise no longer seems a dream but...

Must read

Iran has identified U.S., Israel “weak points” – general

Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Apr. 17 – Iran’s military...

Iranian hardliners rule out gender equality

AFP: Iran's conservative-dominated parliament voted down a bid by...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you