Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 16th October 2006.

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Photo of Keith Simpson Keith Simpson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether she has received representations from the US authorities on measures to limit Iran's access to international financial systems; and whether UK assistance has been requested in this regard.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials discuss Iran frequently with their US counterparts. They have discussed possible measures, including financial measures, that the international community might have available should Iran not come into compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency Board and UN Security Council resolutions. In resolution 1696, the Security Council made mandatory on Iran a suspension of all uranium enrichment related and reprocessing activities and expressed its intention to adopt appropriate measures under article 41 of the UN charter if Iran did not comply. Iran has not put in place a full suspension and the 'E3+3' (France, Germany, UK + China, Russia, US) are presently consulting on appropriate measures, as a first step towards wider consultations; decisions have not yet been taken.

Members of the US Administration have also briefed Ministers and officials, including from HM Treasury, on their concern that Iranian-owned banks are being used to facilitate the transfer of funds to organisations involved in terrorism and proliferation related activities. On 8 September, the US announced that it had taken measures to exclude Bank Saderat from the US financial system, on the grounds of its alleged involvement in transferring funds to terrorist organisations. US officials subsequently travelled to a number of countries, including the UK, to explain the US action and to underline the need for vigilance. The Government take the financing of terrorism and proliferation-related activities extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with the US and other countries to ensure that international financial markets are not abused.

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