US freezes Iranian bank assets

11 January 2007

The US treasury department has frozen the assets of one of Iran's largest state-owned banks amid allegations of arms trade financing linked with North Korea.

Bank Sepah, which is also Iran's oldest bank, has been black-listed by the US, which claims that the bank has been handling millions of dollars-worth of transactions between Iran and North Korea, allowing Iran to procure missiles.

"Through its role as a financial conduit, Bank Sepah has facilitated Iran's international purchases of sensitive material for its missile program," treasury officials said in a statement, reported by Al-Jazeera news agency.

The action by the US means that the bank will no longer be able to do business with US-based companies or individuals, as well as having its assets frozen.

It follows a similar move made by the US last year against Bank Saderat Iran, which it alleged was involved in terrorism financing.

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