Iran, acting on orders from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has withdrawn around $75 billion from Europe to prevent the assets from being blocked under threatened new sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear ambitions, an Iranian weekly said.
"Part of Iran's assets in European banks have been converted to gold and shares and another part has been transferred to Asian banks," Mohsen Talaie, deputy foreign minister in charge of economic affairs, was quoted as saying.
Iranian officials were not immediately available to comment on the report in Shahrvand-e Emrouz, a moderate weekly, which did not specify the time period for the withdrawals which it said were ordered by Ahmadinejad.
"About $75 billion of Iran's foreign assets which were under threat of being blocked were wired back to Iran based on Ahmadinejad's order," the weekly said.
Iran's Etemad-e Melli newspaper, also quoting Talai, last week also reported that the world's fourth-largest oil exporter was withdrawing assets from European banks but did not give any figures.
Commentary: Good news. Not only does Europe deserve to be sanctioned for its sycophantic attitude towards the US Neocons and their imperial follies, but that money will have no problems finding a safe haven in, say, Russian banks.
In the meanwhile, the barrel of crude almost reach $140 today, Saudi promises to increase production notwithstanding. This is going to be one mean summer...