The Treasury Department said it was designating 18 major Iranian banks. The sanctions will be effective in 45 days, the department said.
USA: President Donald Trump's administration on Thursday imposed sweeping
sanctions on Iran's banking sector, taking a major new step aimed at crippling
the arch-rival's economy weeks ahead of US elections.
Treasury Department said it was designating 18 major Iranian banks, a step that
could largely cut off the nation of 80 million people from the world's
financial system just as it tries to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trump administration did not list specific accusations against most of the
banks, instead declaring broadly that the entire Iranian financial sector may
be used to support the government's contested nuclear program and its
"malign regional influence."
Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the action would "stop illicit access
to US dollars."
sanctions programs will continue until Iran stops its support of terrorist
activities and ends its nuclear programs," he said in a statement.
Treasury Department said it was exempting transactions in humanitarian goods
such as food and medicine.
European diplomats say that US sanctions nonetheless have dire humanitarian
consequences, with few institutions in other nations willing to take the risks
of legal action in the world's largest economy.
Treasury Department said its sanctions will be effective in 45 days, giving
companies time to wind down transactions in Iran.
timeframe will also likely give anyone working with Iran a chance to see the
outcome of the November 3 election, with polls showing Trump trailing to
Democrat Joe Biden, who supports a return to diplomacy with Iran.
has pursued a policy of "maximum pressure" aimed at reining in Iran,
the arch-rival of US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Trump administration has already moved to stop all Iranian oil exports and
bolted from a deal negotiated under former president Barack Obama through which
Iran curtailed its nuclear program.