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Sat Jun 2, 2012 7:59AM
Chairman of Russian Vneshtorgbank (VTB) Andrei Kostin

Chairman of Russian Vneshtorgbank (VTB) Andrei Kostin

The chairman of a leading Russian bank has lashed out at the United States for imposing sanction on Iran, stressing that the US sanctions against the Iranian banking sector violate international laws. The US financial and economic sanctions against Iran violate the charter of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demands free trade between all member states, Chairman of Russian Vneshtorgbank (VTB) Andrei Kostin said in an interview with the Russian TV channel RBK on Friday. On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions against Tehran, seeking to penalize countries importing Iran's oil or doing transaction with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). During their meeting in Brussels on January 23, the EU foreign ministers also followed suit, reaching an agreement to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the CBI assets within the bloc and ban the sales of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to the Islamic Republic. Kostin criticized the US for manipulating its currency [USD] on the international markets, stressing that the move also breaches the principles of the IMF. The VTB is a backbone Russian bank, which has built an international financial group. The VTB Group possesses a unique international network among Russian banks, with over 30 banks and financial companies in 19 countries worldwide. Various Russian officials have repeatedly condemned the US unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic, which are based on the unfounded allegation that Iran is seeking to weaponize its nuclear technology. Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Moreover, Iran’s nuclear activities are closely monitored by the IAEA, which has conducted numerous inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities, yet it has never found any evidence indicating a military diversion in Tehran's nuclear energy program. YH/HJL/AZ
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