Most UAE banks stop money transfers to Iran

Transfers to Iran in dirhams very difficult

Most banks in the UAE, an important trading partner for Iran, have stopped money transfers there after the latest round of sanctions on the Islamic republic, bankers said on Sunday.

"We stopped transfers to Iran in all currencies in July," an executive from an international bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

The UN Security Council hit Iran with a fourth round of sanctions on June 9 over its controversial programme of uranium enrichment, which the West believes may be a covert bid to make a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies.

The United States and European Union have since unilaterally imposed even tougher punitive measures, which contain provisions to penalise Tehran's trading partners.

A banker with an Emirati bank said that transfers to Iran in dollars and euros are now forbidden, and have become "very difficult, if not impossible, in dirhams."

"Transactions by Iranian clients are closely monitored," the banker said, adding that certain transactions by Iranian clients, such as transfers to Asia to purchase goods, for example, are sometimes blocked.

"We used to deal with some banks in Tehran, but now it is almost impossible," the banker said.

UAE officials said last month that the country was implementing sanctions against Iran. It reportedly began taking steps to implement the latest UN sanctions against Iran in June.

The UAE central bank ordered the freezing of 41 bank accounts because of the sanctions on Iran, according to the Internet website Emirates Business 24/7.

Dubai, the UAE's business and aviation transport hub, has also closed down the offices of 40 firms suspected of breaching the sanctions, Gulf News had reported.

Iran is a significant UAE trading partner, with trade volume between it and Dubai alone estimated at about $10 billion a year, mostly imports to the emirate.

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