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US Expands Sanctions Against Iran’s Financial and Banking Infrastructure

The United States has applied new economic sanctions targeting 18 Iranian banks to add further pressure on the country’s financial sector. The move freezes any US assets held by the banks, bars Americans from working with these institutions and sanctions those doing business with the banks. This new move could also further deter European banks dealing with Iran, including deals that are officially humanitarian. Thus, foreign banks run the additional risk of losing entry to the American market and financial system. The new injunctions do not apply to matters regarding agricultural commodities, food, medicine or medical devices, according to the US Treasury. In response, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter, “the US regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine. Conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity.” Iranian Central Bank governor Abdolnaser Hemmati charged the sanctions are political, saying, “Rather than having any economic effect, the American move is for US domestic propaganda and political purposes.”