TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran accused Washington of engaging in “psychological warfare” after the U.S. Treasury added an Iranian state bank to its list of blacklisted companies, semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Wednesday.
The United States on Tuesday blacklisted Iran’s Bank of Industry and Mine saying it was taking part in an increasingly sophisticated government campaign to evade international sanctions.
“Americans try to exaggerate by using media as a propaganda tool … It is just psychological warfare and the media should not pay attention to such things,” Iran’s Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini was quoted as saying by ISNA.
“Since the victory of the 1979 Islamic revolution, all the U.S. governments tried to impose their arrogant wills through various means, but they all failed,” he added.
The U.S. Treasury said it labeled the Bank of Industry and Mine as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction for handling transactions on behalf of two previously sanctioned institutions, Bank Mellat and Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank.
It was the 21st Iranian state bank added to the U.S. blacklist.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed sanctions on Tehran for refusing to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which Western powers suspect is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon.
Iran denies the allegation and says its nuclear program is for peaceful energy needs.
The Treasury said it had evidence the Bank of Industry and Mine was shuttling funds between Bank Mellat and Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), an Iranian state-owned trade bank based in Germany, to try to conceal Bank Mellat’s involvement in international payments.
Washington first imposed sanctions on Bank Mellat in 2007, accusing it of helping to finance Iran’s nuclear activities.
(Writing by Reza Derakhshi; Editing by Andrew Heavens)