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US urges caution in business dealings with Iran

Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa
Published: Saturday September 30, 2006

Berlin- The US administration has warned banks and other business concerns to exercise caution in dealings with Iran, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt said in an interview released Saturday. "Our message to the financial world is that utmost caution is needed when dealing with the Iranian government as well as the private sector in Iran," Kimmitt told the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

"Many banks and companies (in Iran) are deeply involved in the political goals of the Iranian leadership, two of the main aspects of which are terrorism and the nuclear programme," the US official said.

Kimmitt said his administration had presented governments and firms around the world with information relating to the role of Iranian companies.

"The Iranians are very clever," he said. "Even the most conscientious of banks cannot be absolutely certain with whom they are dealing."

Banks were well advised to think of their "good reputation," the deputy treasury secretary added.

Excerpts of the interview were made available in a German translation ahead of publication on Monday.

The US accuses Iran of being a state sponsor of terrorism and of pursuing a nuclear policy geared towards making weapons.

On Saturday, the US Senate sent legislation to President George W Bush that would impose sanctions on concerns providing goods or services of use to Iran's weapons programmes.

Washington is also working with the United Nations in a bid to get Iran to end uranium enrichment.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday rejected calls for a halt to enrichment and said his country would continue to pursue a programme of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa