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U.S. Sanctions Bank

The United States has imposed sanctions against a Bahrain-based bank, Future Bank, as part of an overall U.S. effort to freeze the assets of entities involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Future Bank was established in 2004 as a joint venture of two Iranian banks -- Bank Melli and Bank Saderat -- and a private bank based in Bahrain. Bank Saderat was sanctioned by the U.S. last year for providing support to terrorist organizations. The U.S. government says Future Bank is controlled by Bank Melli, which it designated last October for assisting the Iranian government in its pursuit of a nuclear weapon capability.

Designating Future Bank is part of the ongoing effort by the U.S. to combat the threat imposed by the further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This action by the U.S. Treasury prohibits transactions between U.S. persons and Future Bank. In addition, any assets Future Bank may have under U.S. jurisdiction must be frozen.

Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of Treasury said, “Banks and other entities owned or controlled by Bank Melli pose a serious threat to the integrity of the financial system.”

In a statement, the U.S. Treasury Department said that the latest U.S. move is consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1803, the third sanctions resolution against Iran passed in response to Tehran’s refusal to comply with its international nuclear obligations. The resolution, passed earlier this month, calls on all member states to “exercise vigilance” with regard to activities between their countries’ financial institutions and all Iranian banks, in particular, Iran’s Bank Melli and Bank Saderat.

U. S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey says that such measures are having an effect:

"The sanctions that the United States has put in place on Iran, the sanctions that the international community has put on Iran through UN Security Council resolutions, have had an impact on Iran’s standing in the world, on Iran’s ability to attract investment, on Iran’s ability to do business with other countries.”

The goal, said Mr. Casey, is to put “pressure on the Iranian government to change its policies and to engage in negotiations over its nuclear program.”