TEXT OF STORY
SCOTT JAGOW: Iran has become a financial target for the U.S. The Bush administration wants to choke off Iran’s ability to fund Hezbollah and other groups that Washington considers terrorist organizations. Today, a top U.S. Treasury official heads to Europe looking for a little help with this. More now from Marketplace’s Scott Tong.
SCOTT TONG: Treasury undersecretary Stuart Levey has called Iran the “central banker of terror.”
Anti terrorism consultant Andrew Cochran says Levey wants European allies to help the US isolate banks that link Iran to Hezbollah.
Cochran says one is Iran’s Bank Saderat. On Friday Washington banned it from making any transactions that go through American banks.
ANDREW COCHRAN: This is the quickest most immediate way for the United States to impose a sanction on Iran, on its own, by cutting off that major bank from the United States financial system.
But the Europeans may be reluctant to follow given their close ties to Iran’s petro-economy.
Even if they do go along, Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations says Tehran has other financial conduits at its disposal.
JUDITH KIPPER: Including the ancient systems of the silk route and the Hawala, which is the still-used money-changers in Jerusalem and Pakistan, India, all over the region.
In Washington, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.
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