Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

The United States has issued new sanctions targeting Iranian banks and blacklisted Iran’s financial sector.

The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it has sanctioned 18 Iranian banks, sixteen of them for operating in Iran’s financial sector, and another one for being owned or controlled by a sanctioned Iranian bank. One bank is affiliated with Iran’s military.

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The administration effectively cut the regime off from the worldwide financial system with an exception for humanitarian purposes, in accordance with an executive order that U.S. President Donald Trump signed in January authorizing America to enact sanctions on Iran’s economy.

The Washington Post first reported on the move before it became official.

The latest move exemplifies the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran since the United States withdrew in May 2018 from the 2015 nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions lifted under it and enacting new penalties against the regime.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS that such targeting was the “next logical step” for the Trump administration, which has already “significantly driven down Iranian oil revenues and sanctioned sectors supporting Iran’s missile, nuclear and military programs.”

“These steps help to sever lingering Iranian touchpoints to the international financial system,” he said, ”and thus sharpen the choice Tehran faces as it continues to prioritize regime interest over national interest.”

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