Germany is resisting international pressure to freeze the activities of an Iranian-owned bank based in Hamburg that U.S. officials say provides the financial lifeblood for some of Iran’s blacklisted companies.
U.S. and European Union officials in recent months have stepped up pressure on Germany to close down the European-Iranian Trade Bank AG—including a Feb. 2 letter from 11 U.S. senators to German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle that urged immediate action. The U.S. says the German-licensed bank, known as EIH Bank for its German initials, has become a major financial conduit for Iranian companies involved in weapons proliferation. Last September, it added EIH to its own blacklist of entities banned from the U.S. financial system.
Germany has rebuffed such appeals, arguing that it has no proof of illegal activity. In February, it also blocked a French proposal presented in Brussels to designate EIH for EU sanctions, two diplomats familiar with the meetings say.
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