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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 17, 2008


Treasury Designation of Two Iranian Entities tied to Proliferation Activities

Today, the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, designated under Executive Order 13382 two Iranian entities of proliferation concern: ASSA CORP., a front company created and controlled by Iran’s Bank Melli and domiciled in New York, and its parent company ASSA CO. LTD, located in the Channel Islands. Both entities were designated for being controlled by and/or acting on behalf of, Bank Melli. In a related action, the Department of Justice filed a civil forfeiture action seeking to forfeit all right, title and interest of ASSA CORP., ASSA CO. LTD, and Bank Melli in a Manhattan office tower on Fifth Avenue.

Bank Melli was designated by the United States under Executive Order 13382 in October 2007, was identified in UN Security Council Resolution 1803 as a bank of proliferation concern warranting greater scrutiny, and was designated by the European Union in August 2008 for its support for proliferation. Bank Melli provides financial services, including opening letters of credit and maintaining accounts, for Iranian front companies and entities engaged in proliferation activities.

As a result of Treasury’s actions today, all property and interests in property of ASSA CORP. and ASSA CO. LTD that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of U.S. persons, are blocked and may not be transferred or otherwise dealt in. ASSO CORP. co-owns a property on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan with the Alavi Foundation of New York, a non-profit Iranian charitable organization. The Alavi Foundation, originally known as the Pahlavi Foundation, was created under the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. It later changed names to Bonyad Mostazafan after the 1979 Iranian revolution and then changed names again to the Alavi Foundation.

Additional information is available at: www.treasury.gov/press and www.usdoj.gov.

2008/1065


Released on December 17, 2008

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