Sanctions Effort May Open Door to Press Iran Central Bank
New York Times / David E. Sanger

UNITED NATIONS — Buried in the sanctions resolution now being debated in the United Nations Security Council lies the possibility of a new effort to pressure Iran over its nuclear program: a call for countries to “exercise vigilance” in dealing with Iran’s central bank.

American and European officials said Wednesday that the reference, passing though it is, could give them a legal basis in the future for choking off finanical transactions between Iran and banking centers in Europe and elsewhere. Previous sanctions have taken aim at specific banks suspected of financing proscribed nuclear activity, but never anything as pivotal as dealings with the central bank itself.

What is notably absent from the draft resolution, however, is any binding restriction on transactions with Iran’s central bank. Among the many compromises that the United States accepted to get China and Russia to back new sanctions against Iran was an agreement to limitany reference to the bank — or Iran’s entire energy sector, for that matter — to the introductory paragraphs rather than the sanctions themselves, according toAmerican officials and other diplomats, yielding a weaker resolution than the United States would have liked.

The haggling over the central bank illustrates both the opportunities and the frustrations that American and European officials see in the resolution. One the one hand, it provides an opportunity to expand the range of financial activity th... >>>

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