U.S. Treasury sanctions Iran bank, 3 offshoots including one in Venezuela
WASHINGTON — The United States has identified and sanctioned an
Iranian bank used to evade previous sanctions against another Iranian bank used in the procurement of components for weapons of mass destruction.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the Export Development Bank of Iran
supplies financial services to the Iranian Defense Ministry and military, Middle East Newsline reported.
Treasury said Iran has been employing EDBI as a front to evade U.S. and
United Nations sanctions.
"Iran has adopted a strategy of using less prominent institutions, such
as the Export Development Bank of Iran, to handle its illicit transactions,"
Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey said on Oct. 22.
Officials said the role of the Export Development Bank of Iran increased
after the United States and United Nations imposed sanctions on Bank Sepah
in 2007. They said Export Development served as an intermediary for Bank
Sepah's payments related to Iranian procurement of weapons of mass
The Bush administration also imposed sanctions on three companies
alleged to have been owned or controled by the Export Development Bank of
Iran. The companies were identified as EDBI Stock Brokerage, and EDBI
Exchange, both based in Teheran, and Venezuela's Banco Internacional De
The Treasury decision was designed to freeze assets of the Iranian bank in
the United States as well as ban American business. Officials said they were
not certain whether the bank, established in 1991, held assets in the United
"Today's action exposes EDBI's role in helping Iran violate UN sanctions
so that financial institutions around the world can take appropriate steps
to protect themselves," Leavy said.
"However, the EDBI provides financial services to multiple
MODAFL-subordinate [Defense Ministry] entities that permit these entities to
advance Iran's WMD programs," Treasury said. "Furthermore, the EDBI has
facilitated the ongoing procurement activities of various front companies
associated with MODAFL-subordinate entities."
"In addition to handling business for Bank Sepah, the EDBI has
facilitated financing for other proliferation-related entities sanctioned
under U.S. and UN authorities," Treasury said.