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US sanctions 18 major Iranian banks

The US has imposed new sanctions on 18 major banks of Iran, targeting the Islamic Republic’s financial sector, according to the Treasury Department.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department said that as part of this action, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 16 Iranian banks for operating in Iran’s financial sector and one bank for being owned or controlled by a sanctioned Iranian bank.

Additionally, today’s action includes the designation of an Iranian military-affiliated bank under Treasury’s counter-proliferation authority, it added.

Under the new sanctions, all property and interests in property of designated targets that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to the OFAC.

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities after a 45-day wind-down period may expose themselves to secondary sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action.

“Today’s action to identify the financial sector and sanction eighteen major Iranian banks reflects our commitment to stop illicit access to US dollars,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Our sanctions programs will continue until Iran stops its support of terrorist activities and ends its nuclear programs.

“Today’s actions will continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people,” he added.

In a separate statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The sanctions are directed at the regime and its corrupt officials that have used the wealth of the Iranian people to fuel a radical, revolutionary cause that has brought untold suffering across the Middle East and beyond.

“The US continues to stand with the Iranian people, the longest-suffering victims of the regime’s predations.”