Turkey and China ´helping Iran evade UN sanctions´ (TELEGRAPH UK) By Con Coughlin 02/20/12)
DAILY TELEGRAPH Articles-Index-Top
Turkey and China are helping Iran to evade UN sanctions by providing
them with secret banking facilities to purchase goods, according to
Western security officials.
In an attempt to escape the effects of the wide-ranging sanctions
imposed over Iran´s illegal nuclear programme, Iran´s central bank is
using a number of financial institutions in China and Turkey to fund
the purchase of vital goods to keep the Iranian economy afloat.
According to Western security officials China, which is Iran´s
largest oil trading partner, is playing a major role in helping Iran
to avoid the sanctions.
Instead of transferring payments to Iran owed from oil purchases,
Chinese banks are using the money to buy goods on behalf of the
Iranians and then shipping them to Iran.
"It is like an old-fashioned barter mechanism," explained a senior
security official. "The money Iran earns from oil sales goes into
banks in China and is then used for Iranian purchases of other goods
and materials. It is a very good way of getting round the sanctions."
Security officials have also identified a number of financial
institutions in Turkey that are helping Iran to evade sanctions.
Turkey, which maintains good diplomatic relations with Tehran, is
particularly useful to Tehran because of its close trading ties with
Investigators claim they have found evidence of Turkish businesses
trying to purchase financial institutions in Europe on behalf of Iran
which can then be used by Tehran to purchase much-needed goods and
materials for its stricken economy.
According to security officials responsible for monitoring the
effectiveness of the sanctions, the sanctions-busting operation is
being masterminded by Iran´s Revolutionary Guards, who are said to
own more than 50 percent of the Iranian economy.
They are taking an increasingly influential role in the running of
the Central Bank of Iran, which is itself the subject of
international sanctions. "Today the Central Bank of Iran is being run
like an intelligence operation," said one investigator.
Iran is particularly keen to have access to banks in Germany, which
is one of the world´s leading handlers of euros. U.S. Treasury
department officials have identified a number of transactions passing
through German banks that appear to have come from Turkey, but in
fact are being controlled by Tehran. In addition to the eurozone Iran
is also trying to transfer funds through Ukraine and Belorussia.
The visit takes place amid warnings from diplomats based in Vienna,
the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran
may be preparing to expand its nuclear programme to an underground
site near the city of Qom, enabling it to speed up the production of
enriched uranium, a vital component for nuclear weapons.
Reports said Tehran has put finishing touches for the installation of
thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the facility - machines
that can produce enriched uranium much more quickly and efficiently
than its present machines. (© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group
Limited 2012. 02/20/12)
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