The United States has barred two financial firms based in the United Arab Emirates for dealing with an Iranian bank blacklisted by Washington. The U.S. Treasury Department said on May 15 that Al Hilal Exchange and Al Fida International General Trading had provided financial services to Bank Mellat.
The decision means U.S. citizens and companies are prohibited from dealing with the two firms.
Any assets held by those companies in the United States are now blocked.
The move comes as the Obama administration is looking at new ways to pressure Iran over its nuclear program.
Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 15 that the White House will "continue to identify ways to isolate Iran from the international financial system."
Based on reporting by AFP and AP
Copyright (c) 2013 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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