Iran has suddenly withdrawn $75 billion of assets from Europe, anticipating threatened European Union sanctions over Tehran’s alleged nuclear ambitions, the credible news Web site reports.

Iran’s refusal to suspend nuclear-enrichment activities, a process that can create fuel for power plants or material for nuclear weapons, has drawn three rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006.

President Bush and other NATO leaders had threatened Iran with punitive measures if it presses on with the enrichment of uranium. On Saturday, Iran again ruled out suspending uranium enrichment despite an offer from six world powers to help the nation develop a civilian nuclear program if it ends activities the United States and others suspect are designed to produce weapons.

The offer – agreed to last month by the United States, Britain, Russia, China, Germany and France – is a revised version of one rejected by Tehran two years ago.

EU diplomats have said the bloc is preparing to freeze European-based funds and assets of Iran’s biggest bank, the state-owned Bank Melli, but was waiting for Tehran’s responded to the new offer.

“Part of Iran’s assets in European banks have been converted to gold and shares, and another part has been transferred to Asian banks,” said Mohsen Talaie, Iran’s deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, the Iranian news weekly Shahrvand-e Emrouz reported, and that the withdrawals were ordered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran is making windfall gains from record global oil prices and said in April its foreign exchange reserves stood at more than $80 billion.

Western countries suspect Iran hopes to manufacture nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its discrete program is purely aimed at generating energy.

David Bedein can be reached at
His Web site is

This Piece Ran in the Philadelphia Bulletin on June 18th, 2008.


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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.