First Published: 2008-02-06

 
Iran says Gulf shields its banks from US pressure
 

Iran: US pressure not likely to make Gulf states sacrifice beneficial economic ties with Tehran.

 

Middle East Online

By Daliah Merzaban - MANAMA

Money talks

US allies such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are helping shield Iran's banking system from Washington's "financial terrorism", the governor of Iran's central bank said on Tuesday.

The United States has been trying to cut Iran's access to the global financial system, including by putting pressure on Gulf Arab governments to isolate Iran, which it accuses of seeking nuclear weapons.

The pressure is not working because cultural, political and economic ties between Gulf oil producers were too strong, Tahmasb Mazaheri told the Reuters Islamic Finance Summit.

"Neither us nor our neighbors will sacrifice our long-term interests because of the unilateral pressures," Mazaheri said.

"Particularly in the region, Bahrain and the Emirates and other neighbors all around Iran's borders, we have a lot of partners who are working with us in the long term," he said.

He did not explain what form their assistance took.

Iran, which denies the nuclear charges, has long had close economic ties with Gulf states, especially in the UAE and Bahrain, Arab allies of Washington and home to the Middle East's biggest financial centers.

Even so, banks in the world's top oil-exporting region have bowed to pressure from the United States to make doing business with the Islamic Republic more difficult.

Bahrain's largest lender by market value, Ahli United Bank AUBB.BH, had "frozen" banking activity with Iran, where it operates an affiliate Future Bank with two Iranian partners, two sources familiar with the matter said last month.

Lenders in the UAE, meanwhile, have been holding off on issuing letters of credit to Iranian companies, bankers in the second-largest Arab economy said last month.

Foreign banks have been yielding to pressure, too. France's BNP Paribas and Calyon, the investment banking arm of Credit Agricole, stopped offering Letters of Credit on Iranian fuel imports because of pressure from Washington.

"The pressure is a unilateral pressure," Mazaheri said.

"I call it kind of financial terrorism in the financial industry ... and it cannot be tolerated by the global financial system," he said.

"The central bank assists Iranian private and state-owned banks to do their commitments regardless of the pressure on them," he said.

The US, which has a naval base in Bahrain, is pressing the United Nations to tighten sanctions on Iran, the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Iran, also holder of the world's second-largest reserves of natural gas, was retaliating by diversifying its more than $72 billion of reserves away from the weak US currency, Mazaheri said.

"We have tried to avoid keeping dollars and giving the dollar the benefit (of demand from our reserves)," he said, declining to give a breakdown of the reserves.

The central bank's motivations for diversifying its reserves were both "political and also because of the trend of the weakening dollar", Mazaheri said. The dollar fell to record lows against the euro and a basket of major currencies last year.

 

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Bitcoin appeal beats ban and warnings in Jordan

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack

Syria Kurds vow to cleanse enclave from Turkish 'scourges'

Israeli police find missing Briton’s belongings in desert

Algeria gas plant workers mark five years since jihadist siege

UN says over 5000 children killed or injured in Yemen war

European leaders’ response to Iran protests raises questions

Erdogan to visit Pope Francis next month

Iran slams US-backed 'border security force' in Syria

Palestinian suspension of Israel recognition unlikely for now

Jordan to hike fuel, bread prices

Yemen rebels free journalist detained since August

Palestinian reconciliation brings no change for Gazans

Sudan police use force, tear gas against protesters

Both hardliners and moderates have failed Iranians

Erdogan says Turkish military op in Syria's Afrin to be supported by rebels

UAE to lodge complaint over Qatar flight 'interception'

UN says 22 million Yemenis in need of aid

Minorities in north Iraq look to post-jihadist future