British sanctions are 'unprofessional': Iran central bank

23rd November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's decision to cut off all financial links with Iran as part of new Western sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme is "utterly unprofessional," the head of Iran's central bank was quoted as saying by state television Wednesday.

"The British move is a political, utterly unprofessional one," Mahmoud Bahmani said, according to the website of Iranian state television.

"The issue of sanctions are not new. For some time, our financial ties with Britain's central bank have been cut, and Britain is announcing something that is not new and cannot have an impact on us," he said.

The reaction added to Iran's official dismissal of the fresh bilateral sanctions as ineffective.

The United States, Britain and Canada said in coordinated announcements Monday they were slapping additional sanctions on Iran targeting its financial sector.

Britain, which hosts the world's biggest financial market in the City of London, said it was "ceasing all contact" between its financial system and that of Iran.

The United States declared Iran's entire financial system, including its central bank, of "primary money-laundering concern" -- a label invoking legislation that is meant to dissuade non-US banks and businesses dealing with Iran under threat of US reprisals.

Canada said it was halting "virtually all transactions" with the Islamic republic.

Iran's parliamentary speaker, Ali Larijani, warned Tuesday that Britain and other Western nations "should wait for the Iranian reaction" to the sanctions.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast shrugged off the "reprehensible" new sanctions as nothing more than "propaganda and psychological warfare."

Iran's ally Russia -- which, along with China, had blocked any possibility of the new sanctions being put to the UN Security Council for wider adoption -- has called the Western measures "unacceptable and against international law."

The United States and its allies cited a November 8 report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency asserting "credible" evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons research as justification for their new sanctions.

Iran has called the IAEA report "baseless" and insists its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful, civilian ends.

© 2011 AFP

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