U.S. threatens sanctions on Chinese banks over Iran
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 29 /Trend/
Washington could impose sanctions on China's biggest banks if they are caught doing business with an Iranian insurance company on the U.S. blacklist, David Cohen, undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said on Wednesday, AFP reported.
"Any foreign bank that receives payment from Moallem on behalf of a client, risks losing its ability to do business in the United States," Cohen said in the meeting with Chinese banks' representatives.
Cohen is in China to discuss U.S. sanctions on Iran, and he met with representatives of Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and the Agricultural Bank of China.
He told them that they would be cut off from the U.S. financial system if they accepted payments from Moallem, an Iranian insurance firm, under a 2010 law that granted the Obama administration the power to hoist harsher sanctions on Tehran.
Iran's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities has resulted in resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2010, as well as additional unilateral sanctions approved by the U.S. Congress and the foreign ministers of all EU countries, which were primarily directed against the banking, financial and energy sectors of Iran.
Chinese companies in Iran are replacing European companies, which have recently withdrawn from Iran's oil sector because of the threat of penalties for violation of the UN SC's resolutions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude oil, providing China with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil demand.
Reports indicate that the volume of Iran-China trade stood at about USD30 billion in 2010.
Edited by T.Konyayeva.