Saturday, February 4, 2012

US Senate seeks to shut Iran out of global banking system

US Senate's latest anti-Iran bill aims to press the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to shut out the Iranian Central Bank and financial institutions from the system.

Source: Press TV

US Senate's latest package of sanctions against Iran seeks to eject the Iranian financial sector form a global banking system used to transfer money between banks across the world.

On Thursday, Senate's Banking Committee passed a bipartisan bill that targets Tehran's energy and telecommunications sectors.

If passed into law, the bill will require the White House to press the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to shut out the Iranian Central Bank and financial institutions from the system.

The motion would authorize the US Treasury to impose sanction against SWIFT and its affiliated financial institutions, unless the Belgium-based body excludes Iranian banks.

In response, SWIFT has announced that it will comply with any future sanction laws.

The new bill would also give the US legal authority to sanction foreign companies that buy oil from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), have oil shipped by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), or supply Iran with telecommunications equipment.

In addition, the new legislation would penalize US companies that conduct business with Iran through their foreign subsidiaries or participate in uranium mining joint ventures with Iran in other parts of the world.

It would also require companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose all their Iran-related activities to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This is the first time that the domain of a sanction bill extends to foreign subsidiaries of US companies while the current sanctions laws are only applicable to US firms.

The US, Israel, and their allies accuse Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program and have used this allegation as a pretext to convince the United Nations Security Council to impose four rounds of sanctions on Iran.

On December 31, 2011, US President Barack Obama signed into law new sanctions on Iran, seeking to penalize countries importing Iran's oil or conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

Moreover, on January 23, during a meeting in Brussels, European Union foreign ministers reached an agreement to ban oil imports from Iran, freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran across the EU, and ban sales of grains, diamonds, gold, and other precious metals to the country.

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