Russian bank closes Iranian embassy's accounts

AP News
Posted: Mar 02, 2012 10:22 AM
Russian bank closes Iranian embassy's accounts

A Russian bank has closed the accounts of employees at the Iranian Embassy in Moscow, prompting an angry reaction from them.

VTB24 _ a subsidiary of Russia's second-biggest bank, state-controlled VTB _ said it acted after giving the embassy adequate notice. Bank spokesman Ilya Alexandrov said it was motivated by "business considerations" that he declined to identify.

The Iranian Embassy said in a statement Friday that its account holders had only been given one day's notice and claimed that the bank's "illegal action" had been ordered by the United States, which has sharply criticized Iran's nuclear program.

Russia has opposed international sanctions against Iran, but it also has complained about Iran's reaction to demands from the West that it halt a program allegedly designed to produce nuclear weapons.