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Turkey Looking Into Bank Accounts Held By Iranians

Protestors throw shoe boxes at the entrance of a Halkbank bank branch in the Besiktas district of Istanbul on December 19, 2013.

Turkey is checking bank accounts of Iranian citizens with high transactions and deposits, the deputy head of Urmia Chamber of Commerce has announced.

In an interview with Iran Labor News Agency, ILNA on Monday, December 4, Ali Dilmaqanian said, “After the trial of Iranian-Turkish gold trader, Reza Zarrab and Turkey’s Halk Bank director-general in US, Ankara has decided to review all bank accounts with high transactions and deposits in Turkey held by Iranian citizens."

During the years of international sanctions on Tehran, Iranian bank account holders experienced the same procedure in Turkey.

During his trial in New York, on Thursday, November 30, Reza Zarrab, 34, for the first time admitted that Ziraat Banksi (Agriculture Bank) and Vakif Bank of Turkey had played a role in helping the Islamic republic to circumvent sanctions.

Trial of Halk Bank’s director general, Mehmet Hakan Atilla is also accused of helping Tehran to sidestep the sanctions.

While Hakan Atilla has pleaded not guilty, Reza Zarrab implicated him in the sanctions busting operation November 29.

Meanwhile, Zarrab accused Turkey’s Precident Recep Tayyip Erdogan of personally issuing orders for sidestepping international sanctions imposed on Iran.

Mr. Zarrab also said he had paid Mr. Caglayan tens of millions of dollars in bribes. Mr. Caglayan is one of the seven defendants who remain at large, New York Times reported on December 2.

On December 3, Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), “US courts can never try my country”.

Based on Reza Zarrab’s indictment, the Iranian gold trader had met a number of Iran’s bank and government officials, including the Governor of Iran Central Bank and the financial director of Iran National Oil Company, in 2012.

The Governor of Iran Central Bank at the time was Mahmoud Bahmani.

Nevertheless, Bahmani has denied that he ever met Zarrab.

“These comments are merely a series of rumors and news spins against Iran”, Bahmani maintained.