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U.S. imposes sanctions on Iranian bank

Bush administration said it provided services to Iran’s weapons program.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration on Wednesday imposed financial sanctions on an Iranian state-owned financial institution for allegedly providing financial services in support of the country’s weapons program.

The Treasury Department’s action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets belonging to the Export Development Bank of Iran that are found in the United States are frozen. Americans also are prohibited from doing business with the bank.

The government contends the bank provided financial services to Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, which controls Iran’s ballistic missile research, development and production activities. The United States also alleges that Iran was using the bank to evade international sanctions.

“Iran has adopted a strategy of using less prominent institutions, such as the Export Development Bank of Iran, to handle its illicit transactions,” said Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism.

Wednesday’s action exposes the export development bank’s role “in helping Iran violate U.N. sanctions so that financial institutions around the world can take appropriate steps to protect themselves,” Levey added.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., welcomed the move but said other action needs to be taken. “This is a good step, but until sanctions are also imposed on Iran’s central bank, an insufficient one,” he said.

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