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Private Sector, Multilateral 'Enlightened Self Interest' Amplifies U.S. Financial Pressure on Iranian Proliferation Efforts

(Washington, DC--October 17, 2007) Stuart Levey, U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said Treasury Department efforts to inform governments and financial institutions worldwide of the "deceptive financial practices" used by Iran to fund its illicit nuclear efforts have led to "a very dramatic cutback in the willingness of financial institutions to do business with Iranian, state-owned entities." This private sector financial pressure, combined with the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran by the U.S. and UN and continued diplomacy, may help to "change the mind of the regime" about pursuing its nuclear program. Levey made the statements during a briefing yesterday at RFE/RL's Washington office.

Levey acknowledged that "I can't claim to know the answer to the ultimate question, whether [Iran] will make a change." However, Levey emphasized, "the effect we're trying to get at is the isolation of this particular group of people who are trying to stay integrated with the international system," while persuading them "the reason they are being isolated is not because we don't like them, but because their regime is doing something that is unacceptable."

Under Secretary Levey's comments during the briefing and an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda are described in an article posted to the RFE/RL website; archived audio of the briefing can be heard in RealAudio and Windows Media formats.