US Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking sector, making a signifiant stride aimed at impairing the arch-rival’s economy weeks ahead of US elections.Arab News Reports
The 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.
The 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.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the action would “stop illicit access to US dollars.”
“Our sanctions programs will continue until Iran stops its support of terrorist activities and ends its nuclear programs,” he said in a statement.
The Treasury Department said it was exempting transactions in humanitarian goods such as food and medicine.
But 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.