The U.S. Treasury Department has disrupted a Dubai-based banking operation that the United States believes was Iran's main conduit for evading international sanctions and processing oil sales, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the operation.
The Journal said the targeted institution was Noor Islamic Bank. The bank agreed in December to close off what people briefed on the operation characterized as Iran’s single largest channel for repatriating foreign-currency oil receipts, the WSJ said.
The report said the U.S. Treasury Department effort was sensitive because the targeted institution is partly owned by the local government of Dubai, a close U.S. ally and the chairman of the bank is the son of Dubai's ruler.
“The U.A.E. government took the concerns very seriously and was helpful in resolving” the Noor Islamic Bank case, an official briefed on the operation told the newspaper.
The Treasury department targeted Noor because it emerged as a major center for Iran's oil business only last year, as more and more global banks began cutting off their financial ties to Tehran, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.
“As a UAE bank, we comply with all UAE Central Bank directives and regulations. We are in close contact with our trading partners in those countries that have imposed sanctions and we do not foresee any difficulties going ahead,” a spokesman for Noor Islamic told the Journal.
Noor Islamic could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters.