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US imposes sanctions on Iran's financial sector

China Daily | Updated: 2020-10-10 09:58

WASHINGTON-The United States on Thursday announced sanctions against 18 Iranian banks, redoubling its maximum pressure campaign by crushing the financial sector of Iran's economy.

"Today's action to identify the financial sector and sanction 18 major Iranian banks reflects our commitment to stop illicit access to US dollars," US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin said.

All property and interests of the property of the designated entities in the United States have been blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them, the statement said.

Financial institutions and other persons might face secondary sanctions if they engage in transactions with designated entities after a 45-day wind-down period, it added.

The Washington Post reported in a Thursday report that European allies warned these sanctions could have devastating humanitarian consequences on Iran.

Some analysts echoed the concern that sanctions would hurt ordinary Iranians. Barbara Slavin, an Iran expert at the Atlantic Council, told CNN that new sanctions amid rising coronavirus cases in Iran are "particularly cruel", calling it "sadism masquerading as sanctions".

Other analysts said the sanctions may further deter European and other foreign banks from working with Iran, even for permitted humanitarian transactions.

"It's like a punch in the face to the Europeans, who have gone out of their way to indicate to the Americans that they view it as being extremely threatening to humanitarian assistance or humanitarian trade going to Iran," said Elizabeth Rosenberg of the Center for a New American Security think tank.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that new US sanctions are terrorist efforts to prevent fund transfers by Iran to buy medicine, food.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday slammed the latest move from Washington.

"Amid COVID-19 pandemic, US regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food; medicine. Iranians WILL survive this latest of cruelties," he tweeted.

Crime against humanity

"But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity,"Zarif added.

Iranian Central Bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati dismissed the sanctions as political propaganda.

"Rather than having any economic effect, the American move is for US domestic propaganda and political purposes, and shows the falsity of the human rights and humanitarian claims of US leaders."

The unilateral move by the United States violates the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and seriously damages the economic development of the sanctioned country, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday, adding it will impact basic human rights.


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