Welcoming the decision of Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to terminate services for designated Iranian banks, the US today said this shows that Iran has to pay the price for its behaviour.
"It is part of a process of tightening sanctions. It is part of the process of isolating Iran and making clear to the Iranian leadership that there is a price to pay for their intransigence, their refusal to abide by their international obligations, their refusal to adequately reassure the international community that its nuclear intentions are peaceful and non-weapon-related," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters.
Earlier in the day, the US Treasury Department commended the European Union for directing that no specialized financial messaging services can be provided by any entity in the EU for sanctioned Iranian entities and for the prompt response by the Belgian Treasury and SWIFT to the EU's action.
"Today's decision reflects the growing international consensus that substantially increased pressure is needed to convince the Iranian regime to address the international community s concerns about its illicit nuclear activities," said the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S Cohen.
"Taken in the context of increasingly powerful sanctions applied by the United States, the EU, and many others in the international community, today's action reinforces the isolation of designated Iranian banks from the international financial sector," Cohen said.
Responding to questions, Carney told reporters that the US would continue to ratchet up sanctions against the Iranian regime.
"The broader impact and the goal is to raise the price of intransigence, and we believe it will have that effect as part of the overall sanctions regime," he said.
New Jersey Senator, Robert Menendez, in a statement, applauded the EU and SWIFT's actions expelling Iranian financial institutions, including Iran's Central Bank, from SWIFT.
"The joint action of the US and EU sends a strong message to Iran that we are serious about imposing punishing sanctions and that we will not facilitate the financing of their nuclear weapons program by allowing their participation in the international financial system." Menendez said.
In another statement, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) CEO, Ambassador Mark D Wallace, applauded the decision and said that the Iranian regime should not have access to the international financial system, and this is a significant step in the right direction.
"We continue to call on SWIFT to discontinue financial services to Iranian financial institutions that are also subject to US sanctions, several of which the EU has not itself designated," he said.
"Ultimately and as soon as possible, SWIFT must disconnect all Iranian financial institutions, given that the Iranian regime will obviously try to use non-designated banks to circumvent these regulations. SWIFT must comply with US law," Wallace said.
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