US fails to block World Bank loans to Iran
The US continues to oppose World Bank assistance to Iran, but has been unable to block loans to that country in recent years, as other large bank shareholders have sought to increase their engagement with the Islamic Republic, a senior US Treasury official says.
Although the United States is the World Bank's largest shareholder, with a voting share of 16.4 percent, it cannot block lending decisions without support from other major member-countries.
"I want to assure you that the Treasury Department and the US executive director at the World Bank, while not fully successful, have consistently and actively sought to block all proposals for World Bank Group assistance to Iran," Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, William Schuerch said on October 29, 2003, before a panel of the US House of Representatives.
Iran has long been on the US list of terrorist-supporting nations and President Bush has identified its nuclear program as a top-tier national security concern. US sanctions prohibit a wide range of transactions with Iran, and require US officials to oppose new World Bank lending to Iran.
He said that from July 1993 to May 2000 the Group of Seven (G-7) leading industrialized countries worked together to stop lending to Iran, but added that this consensus unraveled when some members, notably Europeans, began supporting reengagement with Iran, said Washington Report.
Since May 2000, the World Bank has lent $432 million to Iran and the institution's private-sector financing arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), approved a five million dollar credit, said Schuerch. Four other projects worth $645 million have been approved.
Members of the G-7, in addition to the United States, are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)