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UAE beefs up scrutiny of banks’ Iran transactions

Banks must provide details of remittances from and to Iran for the month of August.

September 6, 2010 10:55 by

Banks in the United Arab Emirates have been directed by the central bank to provide more frequent details of remittances to Iran, bankers said on Monday, in an apparent tightening of scrutiny in line with U.N. sanctions.

The United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally with a large expat Iranian population in the emirate of Dubai, has been under pressure to crack down on sanctions-busting links with Iran.

Banks must provide details of remittances from and to Iran for the month of August as part of studies on the economic impact of United Nations sanctions on Iran, a circular sent to banks said.

“We intend to run this exercise for just a few months,” the circular said, providing no more details on the reasons for the move.

Banks have so far been providing remittance information on a quarterly basis, said an Abu Dhabi-based banker who declined to be named. “Perhaps the central bank wants to keep a closer tab on remittances between Iran and the UAE,” a second banker.

In recent months ships carrying petroleum to Iran have faced greater scrutiny at ports in the UAE, trade and shipping sources say.

Iran is under U.N., U.S. and European Union sanctions over its nuclear energy programme, which the West fears is a front for developing nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho, Editing by Toby Chopra)

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