Firms facing pressure to cut Iran links


Banks in the United Arab Emirates, the second-largest Arab economy, have stopped issuing letters of credit to Iranian companies, bankers said, while Bahrain is pressing its biggest lender to freeze the Iranian operations of an affiliate.

Kingdom, which competes with Dubai for the region’s financial services business, is also cracking down on banking links to Iran. The government is putting pressure on Ahli United Bank, the country’s largest lender, to freeze the Iranian operations of its Future Bank affiliate, Jasem Ali, member of parliament’s finance and economic committee, said.

Future Bank was established in 2004 as a joint venture with Bank Saderat Iran and Bank Melli Iran, according to its Web site. Ahli United Bank officials declined to comment.

“There has been a lot of pressure on Bahrain,” Ali said. “There’s only so much the U.S. can do. Iran is a major trading partner with the UAE and Bahrain and it has a lot to offer — food, energy, tourism,” he said.


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