US Sanctions Do Not Affect Bank Melli Iran’s Activities in Azerbaijan

Business Materials 30 October 2007 11:21

Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr I. Khalilova / A branch of Iran's largest bank - Bank Melli Iran - does not have US companies among its clients in Azerbaijan, and therefore believes the sanctions imposed by the George Bush Administration on Iran cannot affect the activities of the Baku branch.

"That did not concern the activities of the Iranian bank's Azerbaijani branch. We stopped cooperated with American companies after the sanctions were imposed, and see no problem in that," the Deputy President of the Bank Melli Iran's Baku branch Huseyn Tabbahi said on 29 October.

According to Tabbahi, the operation of the bank in Azerbaijan mainly focuses on development of small-scale business.

The United States imposed sanctions on the Bank Melli Iran for it was serving Iran's nuclear and missile program. According to the US Administration, Bank Melli renders financial services to the 'guards' of the Islamic Revolution and the God's Force, as well as to the organizations involved into nuclear programs and the programs on creation of ballistic missiles in Iran. "Bank Melli enabled implementation of numerous purchases of sensor materials for nuclear and missile programs of Iran," US administration's report says.

From 2002 to 2006 Bank Melli was transferred at least 100mln to the God's Force, the report says.

Sanctions with respect to Bank Melli were imposed both on the bank's central Tehran office and all its branches worldwide, including those in Azerbaijan, Iraq, China, France, Germany, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Moreover, the sanctions also covered the subsidiaries of the bank, including Bank Melli Iran CJSC in Moscow, Melli Bank PLC in London, Bank Cargoshaee in Teheran, and Arian Bank in Kabul. Bank Melli is the single Iranian bank functioning in Azerbaijan.

The sanctions prohibit US companies and ordinary American citizens to operate with the above-listed Iranian organizations and banks, and all their assets under the jurisdiction of the United States shall be frozen, the reports says.

The specific weight of the companies invested by the United States in Azerbaijan makes up 5.9%, and 6.2% of those invested by Iran. As for investments in Azerbaijan, the United States pass ahead Iran. The specific weight of the US investments in Azerbaijan amounts to 21.4% (AZN 440.947mln), and the investments of Iran comprise only 12,901mln (6%).