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Kuwait News Agency: Progress in imposing financial hardship on Iran between US, int”l banks

EXTRACT: In separate U.S. activities under the Iran Sanctions Act, U.S. officials have recently talked to some energy companies that have expressed interest in investing in Iran, including Shell Oil and the Chinese National Oil company, McCormack said. U.S. officials have discussed with these companies whether or not this was the right time to make “big bets on the Iranian energy sector when you have a country that is already under Chapter VII resolution … and has the prospect of falling under numerous other Chapter VII resolutions”.

THE ARTICLE

WASHINGTON, June 12 (KUNA) — The U.S. Treasury Department has made “some progress” last year by working with 40 international banks in an effort to impose added financial hardship on Iran in order to get it to suspend uranium enrichment, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday.

“What we want to get at here is informing governments, informing foreign banks exactly how the Iranians misuse the international financial system to engage in illicit activities,” McCormack said during a department briefing. “That is not the type of behavior that any government, any bank wants their financial system to be used for”.

McCormack said Bank Sepah could expect more hardship from the US and UN. “This is a financial institution that had billions of dollars in assets,” McCormack said. “It effectively cannot do business anymore in the international financial system”.

Another example is that the government of Germany has reduced its export credits to Iran by about 40 percent, and other European countries as well as Japan “are looking at what they might do in terms of reducing those export credits,” McCormack said. “And we are talking about tens of billions of dollars worth of export credits”.

All of this occurs because of Iran’s plans to take actions that are outside the norms of accepted international behavior, he said.

“They are working to develop a nuclear weapon, bypassing a treaty banning them from doing so,” McCormack said. “There is a cloud hanging over Iran and Iran’s reputation in the international financial system right now”.

The Iranian regime should note that “once they get themselves into this kind of situation where the international financial system does not want to take their business, will not touch them, will not touch their money, it has severe consequences, and it is very difficult to reverse,” he said.

Iran will soon find itself at a point “where it will become very difficult for this regime to have a normal relationship with the international financial system,” McCormack said. “It is already not normal, as indicated by the designation of Bank Sepah. It is going to become increasingly more difficult for them, which has real consequences, has real financial implications for them”.

In separate U.S. activities under the Iran Sanctions Act, U.S. officials have recently talked to some energy companies that have expressed interest in investing in Iran, including Shell Oil and the Chinese National Oil company, McCormack said. U.S. officials have discussed with these companies whether or not this was the right time to make “big bets on the Iranian energy sector when you have a country that is already under Chapter VII resolution … and has the prospect of falling under numerous other Chapter VII resolutions”.

McCormack was referring to a UN Charter provision that allows the UN Security Council to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security”.

“As for companies that might be engaged in trade with Iran, they would certainly catch our attention if we thought they were engaged in illicit activities, and there is a separate set of regulations governing that,” McCormack said. (end) rm.

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http://www.kuna.net.kw/home/Story.aspx?Language=en&DSNO=993499

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