U.S. Lawmakers To Target Iran’s Bank

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama is called on to take dramatic steps against Iran’s central bank as part of an effort to sideline the regime, lawmakers said.

A letter, put together by U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said more economic action is needed against Iran.

“In our view, the United States should embark on a comprehensive strategy to pressure Iran’s financial system by imposing sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran,” a copy of the letter, part of which was published by The Wall Street Journal, stated. “If our allies are willing to join, we believe this step can be even more effective.”

The letter is expected to arrive on Obama’s desk Tuesday, the Journal notes. More than 90 senators signed the letter.

The report adds that if sanctions against Bank Markazi, the central bank, are adopted, it would nearly lock Iran out of the international market.

U.S. officials say Tehran is using the bank to hide activity involving sanctioned goods and it funnels money to U.S. adversaries in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Kirk told the Journal he would introduce a measure to effectively force Obama’s hand on the issue.

“It’s time for the administration to use the tools Congress has provided and choke off (Tehran’s) money spigot,” added Schumer in a statement.

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