US removes Iraqi bank from Iran sanctions list

Updated 18 May 2013

US removes Iraqi bank from Iran sanctions list

WASHINGTON: The US has removed sanctions on an Iraqi bank that was blacklisted last year for helping Iran skirt international financial controls over its nuclear activities.
The US Treasury said it removed the sanctions placed last July on Baghdad-based Elaf Islamic Bank after Elaf acted to freeze assets of the Export Development Bank of Iran and cut its exposure to Iran’s financial system.
The sanctions, part of the US effort to isolate Iran from the global economy over its alleged nuclear weapons program, had banned Elaf from any access to the US financial system.
At the time the Treasury said Elaf had knowingly facilitated financial transactions for the EDBI, on which both the US and European Union have placed strict controls for its role in financing the government in Tehran.
“Today we welcome Elaf Islamic Bank back into the US financial system, and we urge other designated individuals and entities around the world to follow its positive example,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
“As today’s delisting demonstrates, our sanctions are flexible and can be lifted if the conduct that led to the sanction terminates,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Cohen told a US Senate committee that the sanctions on Iran were having an impact, slashing its oil export receipts by $ 3-5 billion a month, fueling inflation and sharply devaluing the Iranian rial.
Cohen said the US plans to block the sale of gold to Iranians, whether the government or individuals, from July 1, and has already pressed Turkey and the UAE — both gold-trading centers — to implement the measure.
Washington expects that choking off the supply of gold to Iranians will further deflate the currency and undermine the regime.
“They are dumping their rials to buy gold as a way to try to preserve their wealth. That is I think an indication that they recognize that the value of their currency is declining,” he told lawmakers.


Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

Updated 22 January 2020

Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

  • Trump singles out ‘prophets of doom’ for attack
  • Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal

LONDON: Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg slammed inaction over climate change as the global oil industry found itself under intense scrutiny on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The teenage campaigner went head to head with US President Donald Trump, who dismissed climate “prophets of doom” in his speech.
She in turn shrugged off the US president’s pledge to join the economic forum’s initiative to plant 1 trillion trees to help capture carbon dioxide.
“Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough,” Thunberg said. “It cannot replace mitigation. We need to start listening to the science and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” the 17-year-old said.
The 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum was dominated by the global threat posed by climate change and the carbon economy.
The environmental focus of Davos 2020 caps a year when carbon emissions from fossil fuels hit a record high, and the devastating effects of bushfires in Australia and other climate disasters dominated the news.
Oil company executives from the Gulf and elsewhere are in the spotlight at this year’s Davos meeting as they come under increased pressure to demonstrate how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
“We are not only fighting for our industry’s life but fighting for people to understand the things that we are doing,” said Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental, the US-based oil giant with extensive oil operations in the Gulf. “As an industry when we could be different — we will be different.”

‘Planting trees is good, but nowhere near enough,’ activist Greta Thunberg told Davos. (Shutterstock)

She said the company was getting close to being able to sequester significant volumes of CO2 in the US Permian Basin, the heartland of the American shale oil industry which is increasingly in competition with the conventional oil producers of the Arabian Gulf.
“The Permian Basin has the capacity to store 150 gigatons of CO2. That would be 28 years of emissions in the US. That’s the prize for us and that’s the opportunity. People say if you’re sequestering in an oil reservoir then you are producing more oil, but the reality is that it takes more CO2 to inject into a reservoir than the barrel of oil that it makes come out,” Hollub said.
The challenge Occidental and other oil companies face is to make investors understand what is happening in this area of carbon sequesteration, she added.
The investment community at Davos is also looking hard at the oil industry in the face of mounting investor concerns.
Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal. It accused some of these groups of failing to live up to the World Economic Forum goal of “improving the state of the world.”