Jun 17


US President George W. Bushand British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (AP)

LONDON (AP) – Britain will freeze assets of Iran’s largest bank in a further move to discourage the country from developing nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday.

Brown, speaking at a news conference with President Bush, said Britain will work to persuade Europe to follow suit.

The British leader said that assets of Iran’s Bank Melli would be frozen. Last year, the United States accused the bank of providing services to Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“Action will start today in new phase of sanctions on oil and gas,” Brown said. “We will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it needs to make.”

The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies that, saying its atomic program is aimed at using nuclear reactors to generate electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sets of limited sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can both produce nuclear fuel and turn out the material needed for nuclear warheads.

The third round of U.N. sanctions passed in March introduced financial monitoring of Bank Melli and another bank with purported links to suspect Iranian nuclear activities, Bank Saderat.

Brown said his government wanted to do all it could to maintain a dialogue with Tehran.

“But we are also clear that if Iran continues to ignore (United Nations) resolutions, to ignore our offers of partnership, we have no choice but to intensify sanctions,” the prime minister said.

“I will repeat that we will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it has to make – to start to play its part as a full and respected member of the international community, or face further isolation.” Continue reading »

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Jun 17

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has withdrawn around $75 billion from Europe to prevent the assets from being blocked under threatened new sanctions over Tehran’s disputed nuclear ambitions, an Iranian weekly said.

Western powers are warning the Islamic Republic of more punitive measures if it rejects an incentives offer and presses on with sensitive nuclear work, but the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter is showing no sign of backing down.

“Part of Iran’s assets in European banks have been converted to gold and shares and another part has been transferred to Asian banks,” Mohsen Talaie, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, was quoted as saying.

Iranian officials were not immediately available to comment on the report in Shahrvand-e Emrouz, a moderate weekly, which did not specify the time period for the withdrawals which it said were ordered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“About $75 billion of Iran’s foreign assets which were under threat of being blocked were wired back to Iran based on Ahmadinejad’s order,” the weekly said. Continue reading »

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Mar 30

Nasdaq is set to launch tomorrow what its executives are calling one of the most significant developments on Wall Street in decades — a private stock market for super-wealthy investors.Minimum requirement for traders: $100 million in assets.

Any private firm can list on Nasdaq’s new platform, which is called the Portal Market, and raise money by selling stock to an elite group of shareholders. These companies would remain private and not have to make public their financial statements or submit to federal regulation, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accountability law. Continue reading »

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