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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora