Austria / Press
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday, October 23rd 2012

Iranian money laundering network in Vienna

STOP THE BOMB demands clarification and travel ban on Iranian regime representatives

According to reports in the Austrian news magazine "Profil" and the British newspaper "The Telegraph", the Iranian regime uses Austrian banks to launder money in order to circumvent the sanctions and to provide technology for its nuclear program. A representative of the Iranian Center for Innovation and Technology Cooperation (CITC) has been in Vienna as recently as September. CITC is closely related to the office of President Ahmadinejad and has been sanctioned by the US due to its direct involvement in Iran's nuclear and missile program. The coalition STOP THE BOMB criticizes the lack of action by the Austrian authorities: "Apparently, the authorities knew about the years of excessive traveling of a representative of the CITC, without taking an interest," says Simone Dinah Hartmann, spokesperson of STOP THE BOMB. "We demand that this case and the involvement of Austrian banks will be fully investigated and conclusions be drawn. The latest reports prove that only a solid EU travel ban for all representatives of the Iranian regime can prevent Iran from continuing to procure critical components for its nuclear program and launder money in Europe", Hartmann added.
 
The laxity of the Austrian authorities and the suspected involvement of Austrian banks in the circumvention of the sanctions stand in the tradition of Austria's previous policy on Iran. Back in 2006, the president of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Ali-Naqi Khamoushi, named Austria the "gateway to the European Union" for Iran. The recently passed EU sanctions that were supported by Austria, in particular the prohibition of the import Iranian natural gas, are steps in the right direction. But these sanctions are hardly enough to stop the regime in Tehran from continuing its nuclear weapons program and the brutal repression of the Iranian people. Austrian companies - in spite of all previous sanctions resolutions - continue doing business with Iran in the hundreds of millions. While exports are declining slightly, imports have exploded in the first half of 2012 and several hundred of Austrian companies are still active in Iran.
 
Despite of the massive criticism, which has been voiced by STOP THE BOMB and numerous Members of the European parliament, including its Vice-president, as well as two democratic members of the US senate, the Austrian MEP Josef Weidenholzer (SPÖ) will still partake in a trip to Iran planned by the "Delegation for relations with Iran" of the European Parliament. Simone Dinah Hartmann: "We continue to call for the cancellation of this courting of the Iranian regime. Dialogue, as being preached by politicians like Weidenholzer, buys the Iranian regime only more time to work on its nuclear program and undermine the efforts of the Iranian opposition. Weidenholzer should follow the example set by Belgian social democrat Kathleen van Bremt who has withdrawn her participation from the Iran trip publicly."




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