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Europe trying to exempt SWIFT from Iran sanctions: FT

10 October, 2018
Source: IRNA

European finance ministers will try to persuade the Trump administration not to cut off Iran’s access to Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), wrote Financial Times on Tuesday.

European financial ministers are to put forth the issue in meetings with the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the International Monetary Fund gathering in Bali, Indonesia, this week.

France, Germany and the UK — which signed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in May — are frustrated that they have not been able to convince the Trump administration to take a softer line on Belgium-based SWIFT.

“We did a démarche to the administration, but it was a complete blockage; they didn’t listen to our argument,” said a European official. 

'The Trump administration has yet to reach a final conclusion on how to treat Iranian commercial banks,' FT added.

'Hardliners within the [US] administration and on Capitol Hill who are close to Trump plan to renew their campaign to isolate Iran entirely from Swift in the final run-up to November 5.'

He said that the US could issue visa bans and asset freezes of Swift’s board members and pursue charges and fines against its member banks.

The UK and French finance ministers are due to meet in Mnuchin at the IMF meetings, as is Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU commission vice-president responsible for financial services policy, FT wrote. 

European diplomats are also pressing the US to exempt Swift from transactions penalties on humanitarian grounds, to ensure the provision of food and other non-sanctionable consumer goods to the Iranian people.

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