Friday, March 30, 2007

Pulling the plug on Iran's Bank Sepah

From Bloomberg:
Financial regulators in Italy and the U.K. froze assets of Iran's Bank Sepah. The Italian central bank today said the action was in compliance with sanctions detailed in a March 24 resolution by the UN Security Council in response to Iran's nuclear program.
About Bank Sepah:
The Sepah Bank whose Italian branch's assets have been frozen Italy's Central Bank was founded in 1925 as the cooperative bank of the Iranian armed forces. Today it boasts 1,700 branches in Iran and a dozen abroad, has become one of the most powerful financial institutions in the Islamic Republic. It also has a related group Sepah International, based in London. It is particularly active in internaitonal transactions and for this reason was included in the list of Iranian companies subject to sanctions. Most institutions in the Islamic Republic, especially military ones for their historic connection with this bank, have used Sepah's services for international transactions.
Move to control Sepah pooh-poohed by Iranian officials but not the businessmen...
The decision by Italy's central bank to take effective control of the Rome branch of Sepah, an Iranian bank linked to Tehran's armed forces, has been greeted with indifference by Iranian authorities but concern in the country's business circles. For the economy minister Davoud Danesh Jaafari "everything was taken into account" and "these resolutions (UN Security Council resolutions 1737 and 1747) will not impact on the economy."
The Italian banks have for some time now not accepted bank guarantees from the financial institutions of Iran and more and more often we have to use third country banks for our dealings with Italian companies" he complained. "Using a bank from a third country not only takes more time but involves a significant increase in costs which vary from five to ten percent of the global value of the transaction.""In recent months my relations with Italian firms and businessmen have become more complex and even people I have been dealing with for years are now reluctant to clinch deals with we Iranians:" he said.
Where there's a will...
Parwiz N. explained that to get around the difficulties caused by the international isolation of the Islamic Republic and the diffidence which has arisen since the United Nations Security Council resolution was passed, they have had to set up companies in neighbouring Dubai, involving a businessman from the United Arab Emirates.

Sanctions, schmanctions, I say. You can bet the accounts have all been quietly and efficiently cleaned out in the run up to the date the plug got pulled. Here's the transcript from Nicholas Burns appearance in front of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. I'm beginning to think this guy wouldn't say shit if he had a mouthful.

And since we're talking economy, read what some dipwad over at alJiz magazine has to say. Talk about having a vastly inflated sense of your own importance. Dude, I hate to break it to you, but your economic model sucks and Larry Kudlow needs to smack you around a little bit, I think.
The U.S. is not interested in democracy for Iranians either but having been kicked out of Iran and losing all its economic benefits and assets in Iran, it is out for blood. I think that Mr. Bush has bullied the EU3 and the IAEA into reporting Iran to the UN Security Council for consideration for sanctioning because he is mad that a program started by the Ford administration is serving the benefit of Russia now, which is building the reactor in Bushehr. It also is an economic blow to the U.S. that the IRI switched their bourse to Euros. When the U.S. gets kicked out of a country by nationalists, it never gets over it. Look at Cuba. Nationalism is a dangerous precedent for Capitalism...

Yeah, like Cuba is such a powerhouse in the world today.