HSBC the world’s self proclaimed ‘local bank’ have been accused of closing the bank account of a UK carpet importer called, Persian Carpets.
Owner and company secretary, Graham Barber, told the Daily Mail, “They closed us down after 25 years with not even a meeting to explain why they are doing it.”
HSBC gave Mr and Mrs Barber one month to move their business account to another bank as their account was being terminated. Mr Barber claims “I know why, it’s the word Persian, but they will not tell us. When people think of Oriental carpets, everyone says Persian. We sell carpets from all over the Far East, we just happen to be called Persian Carpets. We do no direct banking with Iran and never have done.”
The bank has recently been accused of conducting an Islamophobic campaign after it closed the accounts of several Islamic mosques, Muslim groups and local charities.
Following Iran’s move into nuclear energy, the US and EU fearing that the process might lead to nuclear armaments, imposed a sanctions regime, including measures targeting Iran’s oil, banking, and financial sectors.
Mr Barber says the only Iranian links his company has were when his daughter bought three carpets from an Iranian businessman at a carpet fair in Hamburg.
HSBC honoured payments for the first two carpets, but did not process the third payment and two days later sent out the letter informing them their account was to be terminated.
Iran’s hand woven carpet industry is exempt from sanctions and exports to 80 countries including the UK and USA. Annual exports amount to an estimated 500 million Euros.
One of the most illustrious expressions of Persian culture, Persian carpets are known for their intricate design and skilful making and employ over 1.2 million weavers in Iran.