This follows the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) latest report on Iran, which highlights fresh concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme.
This is the first time that the UK has used these powers to cut an entire country’s banking sector off from our financial sector. This underlines the severity of the Government’s concerns about Iran’s activities. From 15:00 Monday 21 November 2011, all UK credit and financial institutions are required to cease business relationships and transactions with all Iranian banks, including the Central Bank of Iran, and their branches and subsidiaries.
Iran’s activities that facilitate the development or production of a nuclear weapon pose a significant risk to the national interests of the UK and countries across the region. Iranian banks play a crucial role in providing financial services to individuals and entities within Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, as companies carrying out proliferation activities require banking services. London is an important global financial centre and the UK’s financial restrictions will make it more difficult for Iranian banks to utilise the international financial system in support of Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. This measure will protect the UK financial sector from being unknowingly used by Iranian banks for proliferation related transactions.
The case for action is underlined by the recent calls from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for countries to apply effective counter-measures to protect their financial sectors from money laundering and financing of terrorism risks emanating from Iran.
These actions are being taken in coordination with other partner countries, who will make their own announcements separately.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, said:
“I have today taken action to impose further financial restrictions against Iran. This follows the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report uncovering evidence of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons technology. It is also a response to calls from the Financial Action Task Force for countries to strengthen safeguards to protect their financial sectors from money laundering and financing of terrorism risks emanating from Iran.
“We believe that the Iranian regime’s actions pose a significant threat to the UK’s national security and the international community. Today’s announcement is a further step to preventing the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:
“The IAEA’s report last week provided further credible and detailed evidence about the possible military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear programme. Today we have responded resolutely by introducing a set of new sanctions that prohibit all business with Iranian banks.
“We have consistently made clear that until Iran engages meaningfully, it will find itself under increasing pressure from the international community. The swift and decisive action today coordinated with key international partners is a strong signal of determination to intensify this pressure.”