U.S. sanctions Iran’s financial sector

Oct. 8 (UPI) — The Trump administration on Thursday levied new sanctions on Iran’s financial sector in response to the country’s terror activities and nuclear program, the Treasury Department announced.

The department said it targeted 16 Iranian banks, a 17th bank that’s owned or controlled by a sanctioned bank and an 18th bank affiliated with the Iranian military. The U.S. government previously sanctioned most other Iranian banks.

“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,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. “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 Trump administration imposed the sanctions under an executive order to prevent the Iranian government from fundings its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and other “malign regional influence.”

European governments have warned that such sweeping sanctions will threaten Iran’s ability to import humanitarian items, including food and medicine. The country already is facing economic challenges over the coronavirus pandemic and a currency crisis.

The Trump administration in October 2019 established a channel to deliver humanitarian goods to Iran, but critics say pharmaceutical imports have declined sharply.

Among the entities targeted Thursday were 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 the Islamic Regional Cooperation Bank.

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