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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Britain cuts relations with Iranian banks over nuclear fear

George Osborne said today’s move is to protect UK banks from being used to support Iran’s nuclear proliferation.
Nov 21st 2011, 5:13 PM 1,339 11

BRITISH CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer George Osborne said today that British financial institutions will sever ties with Iranian banks over concerns about the country’s nuclear programme as of this afternoon.

“This measure will protect the UK financial sector from being unknowingly used by Iranian banks for proliferation related transactions,” he said.

Osborne said the suspension of business relationships and transactions between British and Iranian banks, including Iran’s Central Bank, would kick in from 3pm today.

He added that this is the first time the British government has ever cut relations between Britain’s financial sector and an entire country’s banks.

Osborne’s announcement follows previous sanctions between western nations and Iran amid mounting concern over its nuclear development and comes soon after the UN’s nuclear watchdog voiced fresh worries about Iran’s nuclear programme.

Last week, that watchdog – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – voted to adopt a resolution regarding “unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear programme, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions”. The organisation urged Iran to “comply fully and without delay” to UN Security Council resolutions and IAEA requirements.

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- Additional reporting by the AP

Read: Iran rubbishes latest UN nuclear watchdog report >

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Susan Ryan

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