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US official on trip to push Iran, Syria sanctions

WASHINGTON (AFP)— The United States sent its top sanctions official on a four-country tour this week as it seeks to bolster support of international economic sanctions against Iran and Syria.

David Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is visiting Iraq, Israel, Turkey and Britain for talks with government officials and members of the financial sector, the Treasury Department said in a brief statement.

The Treasury said Cohen's discussions would focus "on steps that governments and the financial sector can take to protect the international financial system from the threat of terrorist financing, especially financing linked to Al-Qaeda operations throughout the region including Syria."

"The under secretary will also discuss the importance of economic sanctions against Iran and the Assad regime in Syria," the statement said.

The visit continues through Friday; the statement did not provide precise details about the itinerary.