Swiss bank UBS cancels business with Iran, Syria

Swiss banking giant UBS AG said Sunday it has stopped doing business with Iran because of the company's economic and risk analysis of the situation in the country.

UBS will no longer deal with individuals, companies or state institutions such as Iran's central bank, said company spokesman Serge Steiner. A similar policy is also being implemented in the case of Syria, he said.

All existing business with customers in Iran will be canceled, but Iranians in exile are not affected by the decision, Steiner said, confirming an article in Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung.

"It is a carefully prepared measure that has been under consideration since last fall," Steiner said.

Iran, under increasing international pressure over its nuclear program _ and mindful of the freezing of its U.S. assets after the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran _ has already begun transferring its reserves from European banks to an undisclosed location.

Steiner declined to specify the volume of business affected by the bank's decision, AP reported. V.A.

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