News / Middle East

Iraq Helping Iran Skirt Sanctions, Report Claims

Fern Robinson
A report in Sunday’s New York Times says Iraq has been using a network of financial institutions and oil smuggling operations to help Iran skirt economic sanctions imposed because of its nuclear program.

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama barred a  Baghdad bank, the Elaf Islamic Bank, from any dealings with the American banking system. In a statement, Obama said the bank had “facilitated transactions worth millions of dollars on behalf of Iranian banks that are subject to sanctions for their links to Iran’s illicit proliferation activities.”
The newspaper says that despite Obama’s order, Elaf continues to participate in the Iraq Central Bank’s daily auction where commercial banks can sell Iraqi dinars and buy U.S. dollars.

According to current and former American and Iraqi government officials and experts on the Iraqi banking system, Elaf is just one of a number of institutions helping to funnel cash into Iran as sanctions choke its economy. The New York Times described the auctions as “a crucial pathway for Iranian access to the international financial system.”

Several U.S. and Iraqi banking and government officials say Iranian organizations have gained “effective control” of at least four Iraqi commercial banks through Iraqi intermediaries, according to the newspaper report. That control gives Iran direct access to the international financial system, a system Iran should not have access to because of the economic sanctions.

David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told the Times the U.S. is “actively pursuing efforts to prevent Iran from evading  U.S. or international financial sanctions, in Iraq or anywhere else.”

According to the New York Times, some current and former American and Iraqi officials, along with banking and oil experts, say Iraqi government officials have largely ignored the massive financial flows, smuggling and other trade with Iran.  The paper says some Iraqi government officials who have close ties to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki are directly profiting from the activities.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bak |Shawn from: Iraq
August 19, 2012 2:11 PM
its not secret to anyone. Obama gave Iraq to Iran on a golden tray. ignoring all the lives of young Americans and billion of tax payers dollars, just for the sake to be reelected another term. its a shame. .


by: beachjuicetice from: Boston, MA
August 19, 2012 9:05 AM
Definition of proliferation in context: "a rapid and often excessive spread or increase: nuclear proliferation."
There isn't even a suspicion that Iran has been giving nuclear technology or expertise to foreign nations, so what part of their nuclear program can be considered 'proliferation'?
Simply investing in nuclear technology isn't against any international law, nor should it be when carbon based fuels do so much damage and will be in short supply.
Iran supported the Northern Alliance against the Taliban in Afghanistan anyhow; there's no reason to think they'd shoot themselves in the foot by giving terrorists WMD, especially because if ever a WMD goes off in the mid east, they know everyone will be looking to them, or Pakistan, as the culprits. Their long history in a violent region is reasonable cause for wanting at least 'breakout capability' to defend themselves.

Regardless, I don't know why the US wants to stay involved in the middle east. It has all the resources it needs in its own continent, and it's better off saving the lives of its men and women and investing the money at home. It wants to keep a military foothold in Asia but it's not been successful and there's plenty of ways to respond instantly with aircraft and missiles nowadays that don't require bases and boots on the ground everywhere. I think it doesn't want to loose a foothold militarily on the other hemisphere. But the cost isn't worth it for anyone, and the military-industrial complex is the only thing driving its continued interventionist foreign policy. Iran hasn't even ever attacked the US before.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid