The United States lobby group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) has called on six Chinese banks to all end financial transactions with the Iran.
UANI said in a statement Friday it had contacted the banks “to inquire about the nature of their relationship with the Iranian regime and call upon each to cut ties with Tehran.” The group said each bank had dollar accounts “ultimately controlled by Iranian firms and banking institutions sanctioned by the United States.”
As part of ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions introduced in 2018 on leaving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order threatening punitive US action against any third party dealing with Iran’s financial sector.
China, other world powers, and rights groups all condemned the move, and while Beijing’s bilateral trade fell 34 percent to $23 billion in 2019, China still bought Iranian oil, thwarting Trump’s stated aim of ending Iran’s crude exports.
UANI approached the Zhejiang Mintai Commercial Bank, ICBC, China Guangfa Bank, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Zhejiang Tailong Commercial Bank, and Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank.
UANI’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Wallace, said a lack of firm US action alongside “warm and abiding ties between Tehran and the Chinese Communist Party has given Chinese financial institutions confidence that there is no consequence for aiding the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” Earlier in June, UANI claimed Chinese petrochemical refiners, or "teapots," had bought $22 billion of Iranian crude since President Joe Biden took office.