Freezing Assets: The USA and the Most Effective Economic by Mahvash Alerassool

By Mahvash Alerassool

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Extra resources for Freezing Assets: The USA and the Most Effective Economic Sanction (International Political Economy)

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67 After the revolution of February 1979, there was a great deal of hostile feeling towards Chase in Iran; it was seen as the Shah's banker and the representative of US imperialism in the country. There was also a dispute between the NIOC and the BMI as to which should receive the oil revenues. BMI officials argued that the proceeds of oil sales should be deposited directly by the purchasing oil companies in the accounts of BMI instead of going through NIOC accounts. The reason was that BMI wanted to make sure that it was not possible for NIOC or any other organ or particular person, in a position to put pressure on the NIOC, to divert oil revenues to secret accounts.

68 Citi officials were worried that at some stage the Iranian authorities might stop the repayment of these loans. Apart from losing its lucrative Iranian business, Chase was also concerned with the legal status of a few loans to Iran in which it was the agent bank. The largest of these was a $500 million syndicated loan given to the government ofIran in 1977. According to Article 25 of the Iranian Constitution 'no state loan at home or abroad may be raised without the knowledge and approval of the National Consultative Assembly'.

69 In fact the Iranian legal adviser of Chase in Tehran, Mehran Tavakoli, had warned that these loans might prove to be unenforceable under Article 25. 70 However, as long as the Shah was in power in Iran, Chase was sure that no Iranian authority would dare to challenge the loans. After the revolution, the new government continued to service these loans but there was no guarantee that their repayment would continue without any problems. If Iran were to challenge the legality of these loans in the courts successfully, then Chase would not only lose its own share but would also have to face the other participants in court actions.

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