Iran Focus: London, Jan. 09 The United States Department of the Treasury blacklisted on Tuesday Iran’s Bank Sepah for providing support and services to designated Iranian proliferation firms. Iran Focus
London, Jan. 09 The United States Department of the Treasury blacklisted on Tuesday Iran’s Bank Sepah for providing support and services to designated Iranian proliferation firms.
Bank Sepah International Plc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank Sepah in the United Kingdom, and Ahmad Derakhshandeh, Bank Sepah’s Chairman and Director, were also designated, the Treasury said in a statement.
“Bank Sepah is the financial linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement network and has actively assisted Iran’s pursuit of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction”, said Stuart Levey, Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI).
“Our action today gives effect to the United Nation’s call on all nations to deny financial assistance to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and we urge other countries likewise to fulfil this serious obligation”, he said, adding, “The Government of Iran is facilitating its proliferation and terrorism activities through the world’s financial system, using its state-owned banks and an array of front companies and other deceptive techniques specifically designed to evade the controls of responsible financial institutions”.
Levey said that over the past several months, the U.S. Treasury had been sharing information with its foreign counterparts and key executives in the private sector about Tehran’s “deceptive practices” and discussing how best to safeguard the international financial system against them.
He described Bank Sepah, the fifth largest Iranian state-owned bank, as a “supporter of WMD proliferation”.
On December 23, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1737 to slap sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment activities.
Bank Sepah has been a key provider of financial services to the Shahid Hemmat Industries Group (SHIG) and the Shahid Bakeri Industries Group (SBIG), two Iranian missile firms listed in the annex to the Resolution 1737 for their direct role in advancing Iran’s ballistic missile programs, Levey said.
In November, Iran Focus reported that a top Shiite militia chief in Iraq was receiving a regular salary from the Qods Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards through Sepah Bank.
In September, the Treasury announced that it had designated another Iranian bank, Bank Saderat, because of its support for terrorism.