Statement by Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey on Australia’s Implementation of Sanctions against Iran

October 15, 2008

Washington, DC-- Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey released the following statement today following Australia's designation of individuals and entities involved in Iranian proliferation activities, including Iranian state-owned banks, Melli and Saderat.

"The U.S. Government welcomes the Australian government's imposition of financial and travel sanctions on individuals and entities involved in Iran's nuclear and missile programs, including freezing the assets of Bank Melli and Bank Saderat. We applaud Australia for taking steps to further isolate Iran and we encourage countries around the world to take similar steps.

"Australia's actions are consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Iran, including UNSCR 1803, which calls on Member States to exercise vigilance over activities between their financial institutions and all banks domiciled in Iran, and in particular Banks Melli and Saderat.

"Further, these actions are consistent with guidance from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has already issued two statements warning that the deficiencies in Iran's anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing regimes represent significant vulnerabilities in the international financial system.

"The Iranian people are paying the price for the regime's isolating behavior and economic mismanagement. Iranian businesses have been cut off from the international financial system and the Iranian economy is burdened with spiraling unemployment and an inflation rate approaching 30 percent.

"As the world continues to stand united against Iran's defiance, Iran's leaders are inflicting hardship on the Iranian people rather than allowing them the opportunities and prosperity that reintegration into the global community would bring."