The administration of United States President Donald Trump on Thursday tightened further tightening around Iran’s troubled economy, announcing the latest sanctions that would effectively shut the country off from the world economy.
On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it was blacklisting 18 major Iranian banks – 16 of which were aimed at “working in Iran’s financial sector” – as well as a bank controlled by a sanctioned Iranian bank and a U.S. Treasury affiliate with the Iranian military.
In a statement, the Treasury said it had “identified the financial sector of the Iranian economy as an additional means of financing the Iranian government’s nefarious activities.”
European countries have opposed granting Iran’s financial sector because Washington would expose blacklisted banks and other companies doing business with punitive measures.
In a statement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Munuchin said: “Today’s actions will continue to allow humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people.”
But critics have long argued that US sanctions have hampered Iran’s vital food, medicine and other humanitarian aid.
Following the announcement of the sanctions on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pushed back Munchin’s claims that the latest round of sanctions would not affect humanitarian transactions.
“In the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic, the U.S. regime wants to blow up the rest of our channels to pay for food and medicine. The Iranians will get out of this latest atrocity. But conspiring to starve the population is a crime against humanity. .
Amid the Covid 19 pandemic, the US regime wants to blow up the rest of our channels to pay for food and medicine.
Iranians get out of this latest atrocity.
But conspiring to starve the population is a crime committed against humanity. The criminals & enforcers who prevent our money will face justice. pic.twitter.com/n0fnXPNik8
– Jawad Zarif (@J Zarif) October 8, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Iran more severely than any other country in the Middle East.
488,000 Iranians are infected with COVID-19, and more than 27,000 are infected, according to a compilation by Johns Hopkins University.
Despite calls from UN officials and governments to lift sanctions during the COVID-19 epidemic, the Trump administration has not regretted the “maximum pressure” campaign launched after Iran’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with world powers in 2018.
The Trump administration has stepped up sanctions on Iran ahead of the November 3 US presidential election.