US targets 18 Iranian banks in latest round of sanctions

US slaps fresh sanctions on Iran's financial sector in an effort to further shut Iran out of the global banking system.

Elad Benari ,

Iranian Rial
Iranian Rial
Thinkstock

The United States on Thursday slapped fresh sanctions on Iran's financial sector, targeting 18 Iranian banks in an effort to further shut Iran out of the global banking system, Reuters reported.

However, the US Treasury Department said in a statement that the prohibitions did not apply to transactions for the provision of agricultural commodities, food, medicine or medical devices to Iran.

Washington's move affected what the Treasury said were 18 major Iranian banks, most of which were targeted under US Executive Order 13902, which allows the Treasury Department to target entire sectors of the Iranian economy.

The banks were named as 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 Islamic Regional Cooperation Bank.

The move freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from doing business with them.

In recent weeks, the US has begun to reimpose sanctions on Iran after it started the process of restoring all pre-2015 UN sanctions against Iran. The move to activate the “snapback” came after the UN Security Council rejected the US resolution to extend the arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October.

However, the president of the UN Security Council rejected the US snapback demand, saying there was no general agreement among council members.

Responding to Thursday’s announcement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States of targeting Iran's "remaining channels to pay for food and medicine” in the midst of a pandemic.

"Amid Covid 19 pandemic, US regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine," Zarif said on Twitter. "But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity."



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