Bank of America is discriminating against a troubling number of customers of Iranian descent by wrongfully freezing or closing their accounts, according to the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).
U.S. sanctions against Iran “do not justify or excuse discriminatory conduct by U.S. banks and corporations,” declared the NIAC, which sent a letter on May 8 to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan calling for an immediate end to the bank account closures.
The bank’s actions have stunned and alarmed customers of Iranian descent, according to Jamal Abdi, executive director of NIAC Action.
“To be honest, it feels like a personal attack on all of us,” Abdi said. “We understand that fundamentally the issue is with the labyrinth of U.S. sanctions in place that are supposedly aimed at Iran’s government, but that’s no excuse for Bank of America to err on the side of discrimination and punish ordinary people. There’s a profound sense of insecurity that – because of your heritage or geopolitical disputes among governments — you may suddenly find out you’ve been blocked from accessing your own money. You may not be able to pay for groceries or rent.”