New sanctions on Iran more window dressing: Atlantic Council

TEHRAN, Oct. 14 (MNA) – The Atlantic Council in a report on Wednesday named the new round of US sanctions of Iran as "more window dressing than anything of strategic import".

"The latest round of sanctions, somewhat predictably, are more window dressing than anything of strategic import, as Iran’s banking sector was already subject to a substantial level of sanctions," the report said.

"Instead, the sanctions may be more directed at creating difficult conditions for the resumption of the Iran nuclear deal under a potential Joe Biden administration. However, that is not to say that there will be no impact," it added.

It noted that "Secondary sanctions now apply to all large Iranian banks—only primary sanctions had applied to these banks before under a separate sanctions executive order. This may seem like a major escalation, but most international trade with Iran was already subject to secondary sanctions in practical terms, so the effect of those newly relevant secondary sanctions is likely to be limited."

"Iran’s activity was already subject to secondary sanctions, so this action will do nothing to curb Iran’s ballistic missile development."

"The wild card in assessing impact, though, is the chilling effect that specific sanctions like these may have on all transactions with these banks, including the trade that is exempt from sanctions or authorized," the report noted.

"The United States has secondary sanctions that target financial messaging services to banks that have been sanctioned," it said, "Not having access to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) can make communications more difficult for banks, but is not crippling, especially for banks that have been subject to sanctions for so long."

It added that "All in all, the above hardly seems “crippling” or indicative of impending economic collapse. Instead, the real goal with this action may have been to appease those in Congress calling for tougher action and to complicate any attempt by a prospective Biden administration to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)."

In its latest move, the US Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on 18 Iranian banks. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also claimed that US maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic will continue until Iran returns to the negotiating table.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reacted to a new round of the US sanctions on Iranian banks and maintained that the country seeks to blow up Iran’s remaining channels to pay for food and medicine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


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