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US Freezes Assets of Major Iranian Bank
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The United States on Tuesday blacklisted Iran's fifth largest state-owned bank, Bank Sepah, which the government said helped finance weapons of mass destruction.

The measure announced by the Treasury Department would freeze any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States that belongs to the bank, and bar any US individuals and financial institutions from doing business with the bank.

"Bank Sepah is the financial linchpin of Iran's missile procurement network and has actively assisted Iran's pursuit of missiles capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction," Stuart Levey, the department's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence said in a statement.

The Treasury Department said Bank Sepah provided financial support and services to Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization and other groups that oversaw Iran's missile program.

The department also named Bank Sepah International Plc, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank Sepah, and Ahmad Derakhshandeh, the bank's chairman and director, as weapons proliferators and added their names to its terror-blocking list.

(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2007)

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