Daily Camera (Boulder)

U.S. hits Iran’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor with sanc­tions

- By Matthew Lee Business · Military · Finance · U.S. News · Middle East News · Politics · Banking · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · United States of America · Iran · Washington · Donald Trump · Steven Mnuchin · U.S. Treasury · Union · UN Security Council · United Nations · Council · AminIB · Keshavarzi Bank · Bank Maskan · Bank Refah Kargaran · Refah Chain Stores Co. · EN Bank · Hekmat · Iran Zamin Bank · Bank Karafarin · Union Bank of California, N.A. · Bank Pasargad · Saman · Saman Bank · Sarmayeh Bank · Sarmayeh · Mohammad Javad Zarif · Resalat

WASHINGTON — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has black­listed vir­tu­ally all of Iran’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor, deal­ing an­other blow to an econ­omy that is al­ready reel­ing un­der U.S. sanc­tions. The move will deepen ten­sions with Euro­pean na­tions and oth­ers over Iran.

Thurs­day’s move hits 18 Ira­nian banks that had thus far es­caped the bulk of reim­posed U.S. sanc­tions and, more im­por­tantly, sub­jects for­eign, non-ira­nian fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to penal­ties for do­ing busi­ness with them. Thus, it ef­fec­tively cuts them off from the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

“To­day’s ac­tion to iden­tify the fi­nan­cial sec­tor and sanc­tion eigh­teen ma­jor Ira­nian banks re­flects our com­mit­ment to stop il­licit ac­cess to U.S. dol­lars,” said Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin. “Our sanc­tions pro­grams will con­tinue un­til Iran stops its sup­port of ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­i­ties and ends its nu­clear pro­grams. To­day’s ac­tions will con­tinue to al­low for hu­man­i­tar­ian trans­ac­tions to sup­port the Ira­nian peo­ple.”

The ac­tion tar­gets 16 Ira­nian banks for their role in the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial sec­tor, one bank for be­ing owned or con­trolled by a an­other sanc­tioned Ira­nian bank and one mil­i­tary-af­fil­i­ated bank, Trea­sury said in a state­ment. Some of them had been cov­ered by pre­vi­ous des­ig­na­tions but Thurs­day’s move places them all un­der the same author­ity cov­er­ing Iran’s en­tire fi­nan­cial sec­tor.

The tar­geted banks are the Amin In­vest­ment Bank, Bank Ke­shavarzi Iran, Bank Maskan, Bank Re­fah Kar­garan, Bank-e Shahr, Eght­e­sad Novin Bank, Ghar­zol­hasaneh Re­salat Bank, Hek­mat Ira­nian Bank, Iran Zamin Bank, Kara­farin Bank, Khavarmi­aneh Bank, Mehr Iran Credit Union Bank, Pasar­gad Bank, Sa­man Bank,

Sar­mayeh Bank, Tosee Taavon Bank, Tourism Bank and Is­lamic Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion Bank.

For­eign com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with those banks were given 45 days to wind down their op­er­a­tions be­fore fac­ing so­called “sec­ondary sanc­tions.”

Euro­pean na­tions have op­posed the blan­ket fi­nan­cial ser­vices black­list­ing be­cause it will open up their big­gest banks and and other com­pa­nies to U.S. penal­ties for con­duct­ing busi­ness with Iran that had pre­vi­ously been al­lowed.

Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­hammed Javad Zarif re­acted an­grily to the des­ig­na­tions, call­ing them a “crime against hu­man­ity” at a time of global cri­sis. “Amid Covid19 pan­demic, U.S. regime wants to blow up our re­main­ing chan­nels to pay for food & medicine,” he said in a tweet. “Ira­ni­ans WILL sur­vive this lat­est of cru­el­ties. But con­spir­ing to starve a pop­u­la­tion is a crime against hu­man­ity. Cul­prits & en­ablers — who block our money — WILL face jus­tice.”

The move comes as the U.S. has stepped up ef­forts to kill the 2015 Iran nu­clear deal that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump with­drew from in 2018. Since then, Trump has steadily in­creased pres­sure on Iran by im­pos­ing sanc­tions on its oil sales, black­list­ing top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and killing a top gen­eral in an airstrike.

Last month, the ad­min­is­tra­tion uni­lat­er­ally an­nounced that it had re­stored all in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions against Iran that had been eased or lifted un­der the nu­clear deal. And, hav­ing been ridiculed by most mem­bers of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil for claim­ing to have re­tained the right to re­store in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions de­spite no longer be­ing a mem­ber of the deal, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has con­tin­ued to seek to boost its lever­age with Iran.

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