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The U.S. Department of the Treasury has described Bank Sepah, Iran’s fourth largest state-owned bank, as “the financial linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement network”1 and the “bank of choice” of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).2 The bank has reportedly facilitated dozens of transactions for the purchase of missile-related items abroad, including from entities in China and from North Korea’s chief ballistic missile exporter, KOMID. The bank and all of its branches abroad are the target of U.S. and U.N. financial sanctions, constraining its access to the international financial system. 3
- Ballistic missile
- A delivery vehicle powered by a liquid or solid fueled rocket that primarily travels in a ballistic (free-fall) trajectory. The flight of a ballistic missile includes three phases: 1) boost phase, where the rocket generates thrust to launch the missile into flight; 2) midcourse phase, where the missile coasts in an arc under the influence of gravity; and 3) terminal phase, in which the missile descends towards its target. Ballistic missiles can be characterized by three key parameters - range, payload, and Circular Error Probable (CEP), or targeting precision. Ballistic missiles are primarily intended for use against ground targets.
- “Iran’s Bank Sepah Designated by Treasury, Sepah Facilitating Iran’s Weapons Program,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, 9 January 2007, www.ustreas.gov.
- “Bank Sepah,” Iran Watch, 10 December 2018, www.iranwatch.org.
- “Iran’s Bank Sepah Designated by Treasury, Sepah Facilitating Iran’s Weapons Program,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, 9 January 2007, www.ustreas.gov; UNSCR 1747 imposed financial sanctions on the bank. The resolution also listed Ahmad Derakhshandeh, the bank’s chairman and managing director. In January 2007, the U.S. Department of the Treasury used Executive Order 13382 to freeze the bank’s assets in the United States and prohibit all transactions between Bank Sepah and U.S. citizens.