U.S. targeting Iranian central bank?

The Bush administration reportedly is considering extending sanctions to Iran’s central bank.

Sanctions until now have encompassed private banks believed to be dealing with Iran’s energy and weapons sectors, both targeted by U.S. laws and presidential directives because of Iran’s suspected nuclear program.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that it had learned from financial intelligence officials in three countries that the United States was considering adding Bank Markazi to the sanctioned banks. The allegation is that Bank Markazi is acting as a cover for private banks targeted by the sanctions.

Such sanctions could effectively cripple Iran’s trade as the bank props up the country’s financial system and remains the conduit for trade to other nations, the Journal said.

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