File - A branch of HSBC bank is seen, in central London in this August 3, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
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Iran is lobbying to get HSBC to process humanitarian trade transactions that Europe's biggest bank has frozen because of concerns about potential breaches of international sanctions, sources familiar with the trades told Reuters.Banks such as HSBC are responding to tougher scrutiny over financial dealings with some countries including Iran, even as the Islamic Republic has won relief from some sanctions since its interim deal with world powers last November under which it has scaled back some aspects of its disputed nuclear program.European and U.S. trade sources, who also declined to be identified due to sensitivities over business with Iran, said HSBC had in recent weeks frozen some transactions for approved goods.HSBC declined to comment on whether it had received any overtures from Iran.A U.S.-based trade source said payments with Iran via HSBC had not gone through in recent weeks.Three Iranian government officials said HSBC had stopped processing payments, and that Tehran was trying to resolve the issue.A former U.S. Treasury official now working in the private sector, including commercial deals with Iran, said banks were increasingly concerned over transparency issues.
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