[A-List] Iranian foreign ministry denies transfer of assets
soncu at pacbell.net
Sun Jan 22 22:14:23 MST 2006
Reuters Sunday, January 22, 2006
TEHRAN -- Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday flatly denied any currency had
been transferred from Tehran's overseas accounts to protect holdings from
possible economic sanctions over work on its atomic programme.
The Foreign Ministry's statement contradicted Central Bank Governor Ebrahim
Sheibani, who was quoted on Friday as saying foreign holdings were being
The Central Bank of Iran, in a statement faxed to Reuters on Sunday, denied
a newspaper report that it was shifting funds to East Asia but did not
comment on whether transfers were occurring elsewhere. It also did not
address the contradiction with the Foreign Ministry.
"So far we have not moved any hard currency. We have not transferred it,"
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a news conference.
Iran faces referral to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions
after failing to convince the world its atomic programme is peaceful. It has
bitter memories of its U.S. assets being frozen after the 1979 Islamic
Sheibani on Wednesday told reporters that Iran stood ready to repatriate
foreign-held assets if that were to prove necessary.
On Friday, he was quoted by the ISNA and Fars news agencies as saying: "We
transfer foreign reserves to wherever we see as expedient. On this issue, we
have started transferring. We are doing that."
Prior to Sheibani's comments on Friday, the Asharq al-Awsat Arabic daily
reported that Iran's Supreme National Security Council had ordered that
overseas assets be sent to Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Malaysia.
In its statement on Sunday, the central bank said: "Iran's currency reserves
will be kept in trustworthy banks all over the world including those in
European and non-European countries."
However, the statement did not clarify the meaning of Sheibani's comments on
Friday. It only denied the reported transfer to Asia, and did not comment on
whether Iran was moving money to other destinations or repatriating it.
Analysts said it was unclear what Iran would gain by transferring money to
other foreign accounts, which would be equally subject to U.N. measures.
Some, however, suggested that Iran could still be eyeing Switzerland and
Gulf accounts as refuges.
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