Reports from Tehran indicate that during a recent trip to China, an Iranian delegation of businessmen signed a memorandum of understanding with major Chinese banks to ease the banking restrictions on Iranian financial transactions (ISNA, 17 December).
The Bush administration’s policy of sanctioning Iranian banks, especially against Bank Melli, Iran’s premier commercial bank, seems to have run into stiff resistance by the Chinese as well as the Russian and Arab banks. The US wants to add Bank Melli to the list of sanctioned Iranian entities in a new UN Security Council sanction resolution early next year. China and Russia can bloc the move.
The new US NIE seems to have opened la lot of doors for Iran. The Russians started delivering enriched uranium to Bushehr nuclear reactor today. The Iranians did sign a $2 billion oil contract with the Chinese. And the resistance against further banking restrictions on Iran should be viewed in this light. The NIE has changed everything!