Malaysia ‘bullied’ into closing Iranian bank accounts, says Dr M

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Mahathir Mohamad sitting on a table

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is being “bullied” into closing Iranian-linked bank accounts, says the Prime Minister.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that while Putrajaya and Tehran share close ties, if the accounts are not closed, Malaysian banks abroad will be closed.

“Our ties with Iran is very good. But we face some very strong pressure from certain quarters, which you may guess.

“We are forced to do this (close the accounts of Iranian companies and individuals) because if we don’t, they will close our banks aboard,” he said on Wednesday (Oct 30) after chairing the annual national student consultative council.

The Prime Minister described this as “a kind of bullying by powerful people”.

Dr Mahathir was asked to comment on a report that banks in Malaysia were closing the accounts of Iranian individuals and companies in a sign that US sanctions were having a far-reaching impact on citizens of the Islamic republic.

According to the report, although Malaysian banks seemed to be more cautious in dealing with Iranians than those elsewhere, some Iranians and one embassy official said there had been “mass closures” of Iranians’ accounts in the country in recent months.

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