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Iranian regime dismayed by response to SWIFT ban

SWIFT has barred some Iranian banks from its network
SWIFT has barred some Iranian banks from its network

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, November 11, 2018 - In an effort to play down the effects of international sanctions, Iranian regime officials paint them as ineffective, but with the noose of the economic embargos tightening, they are forced to back down from their previous statements.

Radio France website writes: “SWIFT, the international provider of payment services between banks, has barred some Iranian banks from its network. The decision has been made after the new round of sanctions against the Iranian regime went into effect.”

On November 6, Etedal website, which has close ties to Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani, wrote: “SWIFT announced that it has suspended some Iranian banks from accessing its services.”

On November 7, Fars news agency, closely tied to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, wrote that SWIFT announced that the decision to suspend the access of some Iranian banks to the messaging service has been made “to keep the stability and integrity of the international monetary system.”

Iranian media which expected a European response were in for a disappointment.

Fars wrote on November 5: “If the EU doesn’t respond to SWIFT’s measures, it shows that the Blocking Statute that the union has activated to sustain the JCPOA is ineffective.”

The Blocking Statute is one of two European measures that aim at keeping the JCPOA functional despite the U.S. exit. The Blocking Statute which was updated on August 7 by the European Commission theoretically bars European companies from leaving Iran because of U.S. sanctions and will financially punish them if they fail to do so.

But as The Economist reports, firms opting to comply with U.S. sanctions have devised a ruse: Blame unspecified issues of “commercial viability” for their decision to leave Iran. In light of previous U.S. fines against European companies, big firms are reluctant to take the risk. In 2015, BNP Paribas, a French bank, was fined approx. $9 billion for doing business with embargoed countries, including Iran.

The second European measure to rescue the Iran deal is a Special Purpose Vehicle that theoretically enables European countries to trade with Iran without money changing hands. But as of now, it has remained a blueprint without a real-world presence. Reports suggest that European countries are reluctant to host the SPV out of fear of U.S. sanctions.

Meanwhile, the American International Group (AIG) has suspended its Iranian trades. The company was supposed to cover Iranian maritime companies with insurance. But with the second round of U.S. sanctions kicking in, the company announced that Iranian ships won’t be covered anymore.

On another note, regional media reported that the Iraqi Central Bank has issued a directive asking all Iraqi banks and financial institutions to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. The directive says: “To avoid the consequences of U.S. sanctions against Iran, comply with the list of limitations regarding the country.”

The new sanctions against Iranian airliners, including Iran Air, Mahan, Meraj, Caspian, and Puya airlines has led to the cancelation of many flights to international destinations.

Iranian airlines are notorious for moving Quds Force terrorists and trafficking weapons and explosives to hotspot countries like Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

Despite Iranian officials’ repeated claims that the sanctions have no impact on the Iranian economy, Eshaq Jahangiri, Hassan Rouhani’s first deputy, described the Iranian regime’s conditions “tough” and said: “I would have lied if I said that the sanctions have no impact. U.S. sanctions have negative impact on the country’s economy.

“The government is not able to shoulder the economic management of the country on its own,” he added, despite his—and Rouhani’s for that matter—previous claims that the government has a plan for tough conditions.



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