The Commercial Bank of Syria (CBS) rebuffed the recent U.S. sanctions imposed on it and said they were "political and unjust," according to a statement of the bank obtained by Xinhua on Thursday. The U.S. broadened its sanctions on the Syrian leadership last week, which affected the state-run Commercial Bank of Syria and its Lebanon-based subsidiary, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank, over its alleged links with human rights abuse and illegal weapons trade with North Korea. The CBS said in the statement that the United States had turned back the bank's repeated calls for evidence to prove the accusation of money-laundering against it. The bank had rejected the U.S. sanctions imposed on it in 2005 that aimed at "distorting the bank's reputation," it said, adding that in spite of the tightening of sanction "the bank is still ranking number one among the 20 Syrian banks." It added that a big number of banks and clients locally and externally have for years rejected those "unjust" accusations and continued their transactions with the bank, "and they would seek to convince the American side that imposing unjust sanctions will defame the banking environment." The Syrian leadership has come under a crescendo of international condemnation over its alleged crackdown on opposition protesters as well as its military operations in restive cities. Sanctions were also imposed on Syria's largest mobile phone provider Syriatel. According to David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Syriatel was controlled by "one of the (Syrian) regime's most corrupt insiders." The Syrian authorities have repeatedly brushed off the international pressures as "interference in the country's affairs" and blamed the violent acts on armed thugs and ultraconservative Muslims who want to establish Islamic emirates nationwide. The Syrian government pledged that there would be no letup in its crackdown on the gunmen to restore stability and security to the country.