Buku The Rise of Nuclear Iran by Dore Gold
The Rise of Nuclear Iran by Dore Gold
Author:Dore Gold [Gold, Dore]
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
The Power of Western Business Interests
The fourth reason why diplomatic engagement with Iran has proven to be problematic is the economic power of Iran as an oil and natural gas producer with enormous petro-dollar buying power. The tie that binds Iran to the West is business. Strong economic interests have always trumped effective action by the United States and its allies, especially in using economic sanctions. After the United States passed sanctions in Iran in 1987, U.S. oil companies were prohibited from importing Iranian oil for American consumers. However, they were still permitted to purchase Iranian oil for their overseas markets. Because of this carefully crafted regulation, by the early 1990s, U.S. oil companies were the largest customers for Iranian crude oil, despite the existence of sanctions.34
The United States used the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 to try to increase economic pressures on Iran by preventing U.S. companies from developing Iran’s oil and gas fields. Despite imposing sanctions on companies, irrespective of nationality, that invested more than $40 million annually in the oil or gas sector of Iran, a loophole in the sanctions legislation exempted foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies run by non-U.S. nationals from the penalties, which several U.S. companies exploited.35
In March 2008, the UN Security Council warned the international community “to exercise vigilance” with regard to all international banking transactions through Iranian banks, especially Bank Saderat and Bank Melli. There was growing concern that these banks supported illicit Iranian nuclear activities. The U.S. Treasury had blacklisted Bank Saderat in September 2006. Yet, the Iranian banks were determined to preserve their access to the western financial system. Bank Melli even opened a New York-based front organization in the United States called the Assa Corporation. In December 2008, the United States moved to seize its assets and closed down its operations.36
Nevertheless, Bank Saderat continued to operate a British subsidiary in London, even though it had been proven that the branch had been used as a vehicle for moving tens of millions of dollars of Iranian money to terrorist organizations such as Hizbullah and Hamas. There were also Bank Saderat branches in other European states, including France, Germany, and Greece.37 The Iranians succeeded in cutting holes in the network of international sanctions that had been promoted by both the United States and the UN.
One of the most blatant actions of a western bank on behalf of Iran was committed by Lloyds TSB Group in London. Lloyds apparently would receive large wire transfers from Iranian banks in London, like Bank Saderat and Bank Melli, and then “strip” the Iranian identity off them before transferring the funds to a third party. Bank Sepah, which is owned and controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was one of the banks involved in the Lloyds scheme.38
A U.S. Treasury official called Bank Sepah “the financial linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement network.”39 Bank Sepah also had the distinction of being blacklisted by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1747 (adopted on March 24, 2007) as one of a number of “entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile activities.
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