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US sanctions German bank accused of helping Iran

The US Treasury Department has placed sanctions on a German bank accused of supporting Iran's nuclear program. The Hamburg-based bank has been called "a key financial lifeline for Iran."

A bank vault

The sanctions will isolate EIH from the US financial system

The US Treasury Department on Tuesday slapped sanctions on a German bank accused of helping Iran evade international sanctions and supporting its nuclear and missile activities.

Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), based in Hamburg, has handled billions of dollars in transactions on behalf of the Iranian government and entities involved in its nuclear and missile programs, according to the Treasury Department.

The bank is also said to have previously done business with other Iranian banks already under sanctions.

"As one of Iran's few remaining access points to the European financial system, EIH has facilitated a tremendous volume of transactions for Iranian banks previously designated for proliferation," said Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary.

Levey called the bank "a key financial lifeline for Iran," adding that it had provided financial services to Iranian proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.

The sanctions will isolate EIH from the US financial system, and are the latest effort by the United States to pressure Iran under UN Security Council sanctions adopted in June. The West suspects Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, charges which Tehran has denied.

In August, the Treasury Department placed 13 European firms under sanctions, including nine in Germany.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AP/dpa)
Editor: Sarah Harman

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