The U.S. Treasury Department today announced sanctions against Tejarat Bank, the third-largest bank in Iran, accusing it of providing financial services to companies subject to international restrictions, according to Bloomberg.
The sanctions cut the bank off from the U.S. financial system, closing off one of the few means of trade that Iran had with the West and compounding the increasingly severe and punitive measures taken by world powers in response to Iran’s nuclear program, which investigators and foreign countries say appears intended to develop a bomb.
The European Union on Monday announced a widely anticipated embargo on Iranian oil.
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The Treasury Department said in a statement that the US has now sanctioned 23 financial institutions linked to Iran “based on their involvement in Iran’s illicit activities,” an apparent reference to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Treasury officials said they had sanctioned the bank both for its alleged role in the nuclear program and for assisting other Iranian companies and organizations in evading sanctions.
Notably they said the bank had helped Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization in efforts to purchase uranium on the international market.
"Today's action against Bank Tejarat strikes at one of Iran's few remaining access points to the international financial system," David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, was quoted as saying in a statement.
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The Journal also said the US had blacklisted Trade Capital Bank of Minsk, a subsidiary.