NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Wednesday, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) launched its Turkey gold campaign, and called on both the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and Istanbul Gold Exchange (IGE) to enact new measures to combat illicit barter agreements, where Iranian crude oil is being exchanged for Turkish gold.
Specifically, UANI is calling for the LBMA to require all of its members, particularly the IGE, to certify that the recipient of their gold products is not Iran. The LBMA should revoke the membership of any member that is unable to do so.
Most of the world’s over-the-counter gold trading is cleared through London. Without a membership to the LBMA, clients around the globe could not reliably access the international bullion market.
In a letter to Stewart Murray, CEO of the LBMA, UANI CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, wrote:
…UANI calls on the LBMA to require all of its members, particularly the Istanbul Gold Exchange (“IGE”), to certify that the end user and ultimate recipient of their gold products, particularly gold bullion, is not Iran. If that member is unable to do so, its membership to the LBMA should be revoked.
Given that the LBMA is headquartered in London, it is subject to EU law. The EU recently enacted Council Decision 2012/635/CFSP of October 15, 2012, which works to toughen the current sanctions regime and close loopholes in Iran’s banking, shipping and energy sectors. Notably, Council Decision 2012/635/CFSP imposes sanctions “in order to prevent the transfer of any financial or other assets or resources that could contribute to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities….” Gold is an important asset that the Iranian regime depends upon for maintaining wealth and a revenue stream for its nuclear weapons program – especially as the value of the Iranian rial continues to plummet.
UANI calls on the LBMA to amend its membership requirements and require all its members to certify that the end user and ultimate recipient of their gold is not Iran. If that member is unable to do so, its membership should be revoked. UANI is particularly focused on the IGE, which operates in Turkey and could have provided a passageway for Iranians to acquire gold. A member of a reputable organization like the LBMA should not be permitted to buy or sell gold without ensuring that the beneficiary of that important asset is not Iran.
In a separate letter sent to IGE President Osman Saraç, Ambassador Wallace wrote:
…As you know, the IGE is considered the key mechanism by which the gold sector is integrated into the Turkish, regional and ultimately the international financial network. Without access to the IGE, a majority of people in Turkey could not buy or sell gold.
The IGE has the opportunity to become part of the global solution to Iran’s intractable behavior by becoming the first asset exchange community to prohibit Iranian infiltration and manipulation. In so doing, the IGE can play an important role in encouraging the regime in Tehran to change course from the dangerous path it is currently pursuing.
One year ago, UANI launched its SWIFT campaign, with a detailed legal explanation to the SWIFT banking consortium, international banking and regulatory officials, and U.S. lawmakers, showing how SWIFT was in violation of U.S. and EU sanctions by affording Iranian banks access to the SWIFT system.
As a result, SWIFT soon thereafter discontinued services to Iranian institutions sanctioned by the EU.
UANI has requested a response from both the LBMA and IGE by February 8, 2013.