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Iran withdraws assets from Europe

27 August 2010 14:55

A top Iranian official says Tehran has withdrawn its assets from European banks to counter new financial sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said on Friday that the preemptive measure was a precautionary response to a potential European decision to freeze Iranian asset.

“Assets of Iranian banks have been withdrawn from European banks,” CBI head Mahmoud Bahmani, told Fars News Agency.

The official did not elaborate on the current location of the funds, but stressed that “the Central Bank of Iran… had predicted such a scenarios (asset freeze) six months ago and adopted the necessary countermeasures.”

The June 9 UN Security Council sanctions imposed against Iran’s financial and military sectors over allegations that Tehran is following a military nuclear program, were quickly followed by a set of unilateral US and EU measures.

The UN sanctions focus mainly on the military as well as Iranian shipping and banking sectors. However, the unilateral sanction aimed to tighten the screws on the energy-rich nation’s economy, targeting banks and the oil and gas industry.

Rejecting the Western charges, Iran says that as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iranian officials have dismissed the sanctions as ineffective, warning that they would stop doing business with countries that seek to impose limitations on its assets.

Earlier this week, Bahmani said Iran’s foreign exchange reserves had been doubled in a short period time thanks to a change in our “foreign currency basket.”

Last month, the CBI head announced that Iran had increased its foreign currency reserves by USD 9 billion through selling gold and foreign exchange transactions.

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