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Iran And International Finance

The U.S. has made significant progress in protecting the international financial system from abuse by terrorists and proliferators of weapons of mass destruction, says U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.

The U.S. has adopted targeted, conduct-based financial measures aimed at what Mr. Levey calls “bad actors.” Those actors include states, banks, and individuals involved in financing terrorism and weapons proliferation.

Iran, says Mr. Levey, is a state that poses an “extraordinarily lethal” threat because of its policy to pursue prohibited nuclear capabilities and to support terrorist organizations. “Iran uses state-owned banks for its nuclear and missile programs and for financing terrorism,” said Mr. Levey in prepared testimony before the U.S. Senate. “It also uses front companies and intermediaries to engage in ostensibly innocent commercial transactions that are actually related to its nuclear and missile programs.”

In response, the U.S. Treasury has taken targeted financial action against key Iranian banks, entities, and individuals facilitating the Iranian regime’s dangerous conduct, said Mr. Levey. It has also shared information with foreign government officials and private sector representatives to help them understand the threat from Iran. These U.S. efforts, combined with the tightening of economic sanctions on Iran by the United Nations Security Council, have been fruitful. “The world’s leading financial institutions have largely stopped dealing with Iran and especially Iranian banks, in any currency,” said Mr. Levey. “Foreign-based branches and subsidiaries of Iran’s state-owned banks are becoming financial pariahs – threatening their viability – as banks and companies around the world resist dealing with them.”

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey also commented on the impact of such measures:

”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.”

Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey says such efforts must continue in order to protect the world’s financial system and to pressure Iran to change its dangerous policies.