Tue, Jun 29, 2010 - Page 6 News List

UAE freezes Iran-linked bank accounts: report

REUTERS , DUBAI

The central bank of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has told financial institutions in the Gulf Arab country to freeze 41 Iran-linked accounts, in a move based on new UN sanctions on Tehran, a UAE daily reported yesterday.

It came a week after another Emirati newspaper said the seven-member UAE was “tightening the noose” on companies the UN Security Council suspects act as fronts for Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

The Islamic state and the UAE have close economic and historic relations. Tens of thousands of Iranians live and work in Dubai and elsewhere in the UAE, many involved in the multibillion-dollar re-export trade to Iran.

With Iran facing growing Western pressure, Iran’s ties with Dubai have drawn scrutiny from the US, which has been spearheading a drive to isolate Tehran over nuclear work the West fears is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies the charge.

The UAE is an ally of Washington, but Dubai’s economy partly depends on trade with nearby countries such as Iran.

“The UAE central bank has told all financial institutions in the UAE ... to freeze 41 accounts and stop remittances in the names of entities and individuals mentioned by the UN Security Council [in its June 9 sanctions resolution],” the Emirates Business said on its Web site.

It did not give further details and the central bank was not immediately available for comment.

The latest UN resolution calls for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a connection to the nuclear or missile programs is suspected, as well as vigilance over transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.

It blacklists three firms controlled by Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and 15 belonging to the Revolutionary Guards, whose influence appears to have grown in recent years, and also calls for setting up a cargo inspection regime.

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