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Treasury cautions on Iran central bank

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The U.S. Treasury included Iran’s central bank in a cautionary advisory to financial institutions.

The statement issued last Thursday brings the Bush administration a step closer to sanctioning Bank Markazi, Iran’s central financial institution. Such sanctions would effectively force nations and businesses to choose between trading with Iran or the United States.

In addition to Bank Markazi, the advisory lists dozens of other Iranian-owned banks in Iran and other nations, including Venezuela, Germany, Afghanistan, Turkey and Britain.

“Through state-owned banks, the Government of Iran disguises its involvement in proliferation and terrorism activities through an array of deceptive practices specifically designed to evade detection,” said the advisory.

“The Central Bank of Iran and Iranian commercial banks have requested that their names be removed from global transactions in order to make it more difficult for intermediary financial institutions to determine the true parties in the transaction. They have also continued to provide financial services to Iranian entities” sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council.

“The U.S. Department of the Treasury is particularly concerned that the Central Bank of Iran may be facilitating transactions for sanctioned Iranian banks.”

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