UAE Responds to Iran Banking Report

In response to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Treasury officials had disrupted  a Dubai-based financing channel for Iran late last year, a UAE government official responded that the Noor Islamic Bank of Dubai was the only institution in the Emirates that had been targeted for dealings with Iran. The WSJ report stated that the bank was the single largest channel for the repatriation of income earned for the sale of oil.

In a statement the bank said that it had taken “pre-emptive” action to end its relationships with some Iranian banks when it learned of the U.S. led economic embargo against Iran in December. The statement said, in part:

“As a U.A.E. bank, we comply with all U.A.E. Central Bank and U.A.E. government directives and international regulations, including those emanating from the U.N., regarding sanctions on Iran.”

“When we became aware, in December 2011, that unilateral U.S. sanctions were to be applied against a number of Iranian banks we took pre-emptive action to end our business relationships with Iranian banks licensed in the U.A.E.”

A U.S. Treasury spokesperson said that the Department had been working “closely and well” with counterparts in the UAE to enforce the embargo. In a sign that the sanctions may be taking a toll, Iran said that it would accept payment for oil in gold or local currencies instead of payment in dollars usually required by oil producers.