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Iran denies transferring foreign currency reserves
Updated: 2006-01-23 08:59

Iran on Sunday denied reports that it has begun transferring assets in Europe to Asia to dodge possible sanctions for its controversial nuclear program.

"We have not transferred our hard currency assets. Such reports are not correct," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a weekly news briefing.

Meanwhile, Iran's Central Bank also denied moving hard currency deposits, saying the country's foreign currency reserves would be kept in all trustworthy banks in the world, including banks in Europe and elsewhere.

On Friday, Iran's student news agency ISNA quoted Ebrahim Sheibani, chief of Iran's Central Bank, as saying that Tehran was transferring foreign currency reserves from Europe to countries financially safer to Iran.

However, Sheibani retreated from his remarks on Saturday, saying that transferring assets would be carried out if necessary but it was nothing unusual.

Iran has more than 36 billion U.S. dollars of hard currency reserves in foreign banks, most of them European banks.

The current crisis over Iran's nuclear issue escalated after Tehran resumed nuclear fuel research on January 10, ending a two-year freeze.

At the request of the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany, the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors will hold an emergency meeting on February 2 in Vienna to decide whether to refer Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council that could impose sanctions on Iran.

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