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News Brief


Four key U.S. Congress members want the Treasury secretary to lobby the World Bank on a House resolution calling for an end to the bank’s Iran disbursements.

The members of the House of Representatives — the chairs of the foreign affairs and financial services committees and two ranking members — want Henry Paulsen to lobby foreign banks to stop doing business with Tehran. They noted in particular Bank Sepah, which is affiliated with Iran’s missile program.

The lawmakers also are asking Paulsen to make clear that the U.S. government will closely examine deals made with Iran by foreign companies, and to remind World Bank allies of the need to fight against money laundering and the global financing of terrorism.

Making their pleas were U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), chairman of the foreign affairs committee, and member Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), along with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), financial services committee chairman, and member Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.).

The House resolution passed recently calls on the bank’s board of directors to end disbursements until the International Atomic Energy Agency certifies Iran’s compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The bank, which recently held its annual meeting, has distributed $200 million to Iran this year and is obligated to disburse another $870 million through 2010. The World Bank is funding nine government projects in Iran totaling $1.3 billion. One operates in Isfahan, the headquarters of the country’s nuclear program.

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