"Economic Hitmen" Strangle Iran, Financially

17 de abril de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>"Economic Hitmen" Strangle Iran, Financially</h1><p>Apr 17 (EIRNS)--Less visible than the military deployments against Iran in the Persian Gulf, a more "discreet" battle is taking place between the US and Teheran -- the struggle to "strangle the Islamic Republic financially," says Natalie Nougareyde in Le Monde (April 17th). Since the Autumn of 1996, American Treasury officials have developed a whole strategy in this direction, inspired by the boycott they imposed on North Korea. The strategy is called "Naming and Shaming," that is, designating those economic interests which are too cooperative with Iran, and shaming them internationally.</p><p>And, after having approached some 40 large financial institutions and companies throughout the world, "the results are there." "According to diplomats and diplomatic experts, not a single European bank is still financing large projects in Iran," writes Nougareyde. Basically, Treasury economic hitmen pay visits to all foreign investors in Wall Street to talk to them about "sanctions, fines, or the eventual decisions of American pension funds to which those companies would be exposed if they would pursue their business affairs with the Islamic Republic."</p><p>This has been apparently extremely efficient, writes Nougareyde. The German Commerzbank and the Swiss UBS and Credit Suisse were rapidly convinced by the Bush administration. In France, the BNP Paribas has strongly reduced its investments in Iran, and the global engagement of French banks in that country have dropped by half in one year. While not officially endorsing the American strategy, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Finance Ministry have nonetheless sent out messages to French companies underlining the dangers of further engagements in Iran.</p><p>Energy companies have also been put under great pressure. Total, the "French" oil "major" has been forced to cancel its planned investments this year in the South Pars liquefied gas site in Iran, because of threatened sanctions involving the Iran/Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. AFX news reported on April 17th, that AREVA, the French public nuclear company "excludes de facto any cooperation with Iran." AREVA only works with clients and governments that fully comply with the international regulations on nuclear energy."</p><p>The House Subcommittees on Foreign Affairs and Financial Services are co-sponsoring a hearing on Wednesday April 18 on "Isolating Proliferators and Sponsors of Terror: The Use of Sanctions and the International Financial System to Change Regime Behavior," featuring the Treasury team which has run this operation against targeted nations.</p></div></body>