Iran says fresh US sanctions on banking sector are an attempt “to starve its people”

On Thursday, the US treasury department blacklisted 18 major Iranian banks in the latest assault as part of its so-called maximum pressure campaign against the country

October 09, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Credit : Press TV

The US treasury department announced fresh financial sanctions on Iran’s banking sector on Thursday, October 8. Reacting strongly to the move, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, called the announcement of these sanctions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic the US regime’s attempt to “blow up [Iran’s] remaining channels to pay for food and medicine.” He claimed that the “conspiracy” by the US “to starve a population is a crime against humanity.”

The US treasury department announced that it is blacklisting 18 major Iranian banks, calling the entire Iranian financial sector an additional avenue that funds government’s “malign activities.”

The US has alleged that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and supporting “terrorist groups” in the Middle East region. Both the allegations have been denied by the Iranian government. Iran claims that the aggression is an attempt to thwart its independence and its regional and foreign policy. The US sees rising Iranian influence in West Asia as a threat to its domination.

The Trump administration’s latest move has been criticized by European nations, which fear their banks will also be affected. Activists and peace movements said the sanctions will hamper humanitarian supplies to Iran necessary to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

The US has refused to listen to official UN appeals to desist from imposing sanctions during the pandemic and announced numerous new sanctions on Iran during the last few months.

In the Middle East, Iran has been most affected by COVID-19 with over 480,000 cases and over 27,000 deaths. It is also facing numerous other sanctions imposed by the US since its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal in 2018. The Trump administration has stated that its so-called maximum pressure campaign is aimed to force Iran to re-negotiate the deal. Iran has rejected any possibility of re-negotiation. 

The Trump administration has also tried to bring back international sanctions on Iran which were withdrawn by the United Nations after the nuclear deal was signed in 2015. After 13 out of 15 members of the UN Security Council refused to consider the US demand for snapback sanctions on Iran last month, the US went ahead and unilaterally announced the imposition of sanctions asking other members to adhere to it.

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