The U.S. took a new step in its economic war against Iran Tuesday when it imposed sanctions against an Iranian commercial bank in the U.K., the Financial Times reported Wednesday.  --  The justification for the unilateral U.S. move was that the bank provided "assistance" to Iran's missile program (to which Iran has a right under international law, the London paper noted).  --  In announcing the move, U.S. Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey said:  "Bank Sepah is the financial linchpin of Iran's missile procurement network and has actively assisted Iran's pursuit of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction."  --  NOTE:  We are obliged to restate once again that there is no concrete evidence that Iran has or is building weapons of mass destruction.  --  As for the United States, it may be useful to review the various missiles possessed or in development by the U.S., many of which are designed to deliver weapons of mass destruction:  AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-54 Phoenix, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132 ASRAAM, DRM/ASMT, AAAM, FIM-92A Stinger ATAS, 2.75" Hydra-70, 5.0" Zuni, AGM-12 Bullpup, AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-62 Walleye, AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-78 Standard ARM, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-114 Hellfire, AGM-122 Sidearm, AGM-123 Skipper, AGM-130, AGM-136 TACIT RAINBOW, AGM-137 TSSAM, AGM-142 HAVE NAP, AGM-154 JSOW, JASSM, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-119 Penguin, CLAWS, FIM-92A Stinger, HUMRAAM, MIM-23 Hawk, MIM-72 Chaparral FAADS, MIM-104 Patriot, MEADS, THAAD, FOTT, Javelin, LOSAT, M47 Dragon, M136 AT4, M220 TOW, ATACMS, ATACMS / BAT, EFOGM, M26 MLRS, MLRS Guided, M55, MGM-52C Lance, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, RIM-67 SM-2, RIM-67 SM-2 TMD, RIM-116 RAM, RIM-67, SM-2 LASM, BGM-109 Tomahawk, RUM-139 VL ASROC, RUR-5 ASROC, MGM-52 Sea Lance (compiled by the Federation of American Scientists)....



Middle East & Africa

By Guy Dinmore

Financial Times (UK)
January 10, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Treasury yesterday imposed sanctions against Iran's commercial Bank Sepah, accusing it of assisting Tehran's missile program and having links with an alleged North Korean missile exporter.

Bank Sepah International, a wholly owned subsidiary in the U.K., and Ahmad Derakhshandeh, the parent bank's chairman and director, were also targeted by a notice barring any U.S. citizen from dealing with them and freezing any assets they have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The unilateral moves were the first taken by the U.S. since the United Nations Security Council imposed missile and nuclear-related sanctions on Iran in response to its refusal to suspend its nuclear fuel development program.

The U.S. last September banned dollar transactions with Bank Saderat, Iran's largest commercial bank, accusing it of facilitating the transfer of $1m (770,000 euros) to Lebanon's Hezbollah and other "terrorist organizations."

Stuart Levey, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said: "Bank Sepah is the financial linchpin of Iran's missile procurement network and has actively assisted Iran's pursuit of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction. Our action today gives effect to the United Nations' call on all nations to deny financial assistance to Iran's nuclear and missile programs, and we urge other countries likewise to fulfil this serious obligation."

The action will have limited impact as U.S. trade with Iran is severely limited by sanctions imposed in the 1990s. However, the U.S. is putting pressure on its allies to isolate Iran from the international financial system, using the cover of last month's U.N. resolution.

Iran is open about its indigenous development of missiles as allowed under international law but denies it has a covert nuclear weapons program.

Reuters cited Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, as telling a domestic news agency that U.S. "harassment" of Iran's banking system "are not issues that can affect Iran's will."