The United States on Thursday placed sweeping sanctions on Iran’s banking sector, crippling the regime’s ability to finance global terrorism. The latest sanctions announced by the White House are perhaps the toughest measures against the regime-linked banks since President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-Biden nuclear deal two years ago.

The action will “deny the Iranian government financial resources that may be used to fund and support its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and terrorist proxy networks, and malign regional influence,” the Treasury Department said in a statement on Thursday.

The new set of sanctions will also target foreign banks colluding with rogue Iranian financial institutions. The move will “penalise non-Iranian institutions trading with them, effectively cutting the banks off from the international financial system,” BBC explained.

The Associated Press reported the latest U.S. sanctions of Iran:

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 re-imposed 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 announcement comes as a big blow to European banks keen on doing business with the Islamic Republic. Foreign banks found dealing with these blacklisted banks may lose access to the U.S. financial market.

“The move freezes any U.S. assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them, while extending secondary sanctions to those who do business with them.” news agency Reuters reported.  “This means foreign banks risk losing access to the U.S. market and financial system.”

Reuters also noted that the new sanctions “may spook European banks” from doing business with Tehran. “Analysts said the secondary sanctions may further deter European and other foreign banks from working with Iran,” the news agency added.

The lure of lucrative oil and financial deals have driven Germany, France, and other European powers to oppose President Trump’s policy of maximum pressure on the regime. These countries have sided with Russia and China, in their opposition to the recent snapback sanctions on Tehran proposed by President Trump.

According to the U.S. State Department, Iran is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism. Its financial sector plays a key role in funding proxy terror groups and terrorist activities abroad.

Banks sanctioned under the latest move are regulated by regime-controlled Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Iran central bank is known to have provided “support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), its Qods Force (IRGC-QF), and its terrorist proxy, Hizballah,” Treasury Department’s statement said.

Despite contrary media reports, food, medicine, and other humanitarian activities have been exempted from the sanctions. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin assured that the U.S. “will continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people.”

This did not stop the mainstream media from bashing President Trump and his adminstration. “Trump administration imposes crushing sanctions on Iran in defiance of European humanitarian concerns,” the Washington Post commented. Unnamed “European officials have doubted the effectiveness of such moves,” the newspaper complained.

CNN quoted unnamed U.S. officials accusing  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “creating a more toxic environment in the region” by going after regime-linked banks.

‘Trump admin set to reimpose UN sanctions on Iran’


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