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Banks block Iranian students' accounts

Published: 19 Feb 2013 14:37 GMT+01:00

The website of Der Spiegel magazine reported on Monday that affected customers received letters from their banks notifying them of the imminent closure of their accounts. No reason for the decision was given.

"Since November 2012 the number of complaints about blocked accounts and denied applications has risen substantially. Hundreds of Iranians have been affected," said Lutz Bucklitsch from a Berlin-based Iranian refugee organisation.

Some of the accounts had balances exceeding €1,000. Holders were notified by post that they could either withdraw the balance in cash or transfer it to another institution.

Although the banks in question have declined to reveal the reasons for their course of action, insisting on banking confidentiality, Sparkasse and Giroverband have pointed to international sanctions against Iran implemented in response to its controversial nuclear programme. The measures have drastically reduced German business ties with the country.

The sanctions have been in place since 2007 and alongside businesses they have affected particular individuals within Iran. Those who do not appear on the blacklist, however, should be allowed to continue managing their private financial affairs without hindrance.

"Due to increased pressure from trading partners in the USA, German banks have been gradually shutting Iranian customers out," Bucklitsch told Der Spiegel. "From the American point of view, no business should have anything to do with Iran."

The rash of account closures has even reportedly sparked the German government to contact the banks. Emily Haber, a German Foreign Office official, informed the institutions by letter that their moves to block Iranian citizens' accounts had no legal basis. She has called for "a fresh audit into account management and new openings."

The Local/mjl

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

04:51 February 20, 2013 by AmericanMade
Wrong, wrong, wrong. I am ashamed on so many levels.
07:50 February 20, 2013 by lucksi
Some people even had balances exceeding 1k? Man, with that kind of money, they must be here to buy stuff for the nuke reactors.

Remember, you too can save a nuclear program in another country for just one Euro a day.
08:32 February 20, 2013 by murka
Aren't these two different things:

1) a legal resident who happens to have Iranian passport, and

2) the Iranian government?

Either there is a missing bit, or the bank ppl are a bunch of morons.
12:37 February 20, 2013 by TheWonderer
Unfortunately, these days there is a lot of money washing the "little by little" way.

So they are afraid to do the wrong thing - but hit the wrong folks.

That is sad, but it also happens in lots of other cases were you have to prove the origin of the money you paid onto your account.

TheWonderer
13:30 February 20, 2013 by sonriete
It's like punishing the son for the sins of the father.
18:27 February 22, 2013 by raandy
Blocking accounts only because the person is Iranian is despicable, these people need their funds to survive as many are students.I would assume that they are funded through these accounts and the closing of them will be a hardship.

Wondrerer its "money laundering"
17:29 February 23, 2013 by yuri_nahl
It seems like Germany is becoming a poodle country. I seem to recall, only the western countries have repeatedly tried to overthrow Iran since 1900 in order to steal their oil. Try opening a history book.
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