Chinese Banks Urged to Cut Ties With Iranian Regime
Six Chinese banks have been urged to cut ties with the Iranian regime in a bid to prevent Tehran’s leaders from bypassing tough international sanctions.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Washington, DC,-based lobby group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) said it had made contact with the banks “to inquire about the nature of their relationship with the Iranian regime and call upon each to cut ties with Tehran.”
Each of the banks hosts accounts denominated in US dollars “that are ultimately controlled by Iranian firms and banking institutions sanctioned by the United States,” UANI noted. One of the account holders is Iran’s Parsian Bank, which has been accused by the US Treasury Department of financing businesses raising revenue for the Basij paramilitary force. Frequently deployed by the regime to brutally crush domestic protests, the Basij is a component of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is itself included on the US list of “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”
UANI disclosed that only one of the financial institutions contacted had responded to its letter. The Zhejiang Mintai Commercial Bank said it had not sought to “do any business in Iran,” adding that “any business and settlement related to Iran is forbidden.” The other banks approached were ICBC, China Guangfa Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Zhejiang Tailong Commercial Bank, and Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank.
In a separate statement, UANI’s CEO, Ambassador Mark Wallace, remarked that “conducting business with any U.S.-sanctioned Iranian entity makes these financial institutions directly complicit in the activities of the regime and its proxies.” s
Continued Wallace: “China has thumbed its nose at US sanctions against Iran for years. The lack of a firm response in combination with the warm and abiding ties between Tehran and the Chinese Communist Party has given Chinese financial institutions confidence that there is no consequence for aiding the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. The US must investigate and disavow them of this notion.”
UANI’s letter to the Chinese banks stressed that the “risks of operating in and doing business with Iran and its affiliated agents and provocateurs will continue – unless and until Iran fundamentally changes its behavior and comports itself with international law.” It argued that “ultimately, prudent companies should conclude that business opportunities in Iran still are not worth the risk.”
Earlier this year, UANI undertook a similar initiative to urge three Turkish banks to divest from Iran, claiming that the “likelihood that Turkish institutions are undermining the U.S. and laundering money on behalf of the Islamic Republic warrants immediate attention by U.S. and Turkish Authorities and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).”