Iran wants banks in Muslim countries to avert sanctions: US

The West fears Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb.

Washington: The United States said on Thursday that Iran is trying to establish banks in Muslim countries to circumvent sanctions aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions.

"It`s not a surprise, frankly, we`ve seen them try to do this before," Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, told reporters when asked to confirm a report in the Washington Post.

"I know they are attempting to," Toner added.

"In fact, it`s something that`s a topic of discussions with our allies and partners in the region and around the world, frankly. And to us it`s an indication, frankly, that the sanctions are having some effect," Toner said.

He added that US conversations with allies and partners were aimed at trying "to make them aware of this situation”.

He gave no details, but the Washington Post quoted US officials as saying that Iran was trying to set up banks in various Muslim countries, including Iraq and Malaysia.

It said they were using dummy names and opaque ownership structures to avoid sanctions.

The UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions in June in a bid to force Iran to comply with international calls to stop its uranium enrichment program.

The US, the European Union, Japan, Canada and Australia imposed further unilateral sanctions.

The West fears Iran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran denies the charge, saying its intentions are entirely peaceful.


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