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© AP Photo/ Petros Giannakouris

Greece Blocked EU Sanctions Renewal for Iranian Bank

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Greece defied EU and US pressure last month to reapply sanctions on the Iranian bank Saderat, the first sign of dissent inside the European Union on Iran, media claimed on Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Saderat, Iran’s largest bank partly controlled by the state, was one of three banks kept on the EU list for another eight years after six world powers brokered a nuclear deal with Tehran in July 2015.

A Greek official told the Wall Street Journal there were "firm instructions" from Athens to veto extending an asset freeze past October 22, after a top EU court upheld the bank’s challenge in April.

The outlet said the rest of 27 EU member states wanted to keep restrictions on the bank in place on allegations it was involved in Iran’s nuclear program.

The United States has Saderat on its list of financial institutions allegedly funding groups Washington believes to be terrorists, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

According to the WSJ, the US Treasury and Congress people asked Athens not to hinder sanctions renewal and warned Greece it would "pay a price."

In July last year, Iran signed a historic deal with Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France and Germany where it pledged to curb its nuclear research in exchange for sanctions relief.