SWIFT Campaign

UANI launched its SWIFT Campaign in January 2012 to call upon the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to comply with U.S. and EU sanctions as well as its own bylaws and terminate its relationship with and deny access to all Iranian financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Iran. Headquartered in Belgium, SWIFT is the primary global means to transfer money electronically between banks. Absent access to SWIFT, the dictatorial regime of Iran would be severely impeded in financing its illicit nuclear program and terrorist activities. SWIFT’s continued presence in Iran provides the essential electronic means for the Iranian regime to finance this behavior.

The initiation of UANI’s unprecedented campaign, which was announced by The New York Times, quickly placed SWIFT on the defensive. On February 17, 2012, SWIFT declared it was prepared to “discontinue its services to sanctioned Iranian financial institutions.” Following the passage of corresponding EU sanctions, SWIFT announced on March 15, 2012 that it was expelling as many as 30 Iranian financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Iran.

The SWIFT sanctions have dealt a severe blow to the Iranian economy and precipitated a currency crisis by denying Iran new sources of foreign currency reserves. With electronic bank transactions largely blocked, the Iranian regime is having immense difficulty recouping billions of dollars from its oil sales.

Loopholes, however, remain as some Iranian financial institutions retain access to SWIFT. UANI is calling on SWIFT to immediately cut off all Iranian banks and entities from the SWIFT network. UANI’s position is supported by U.S. legislation. The Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, signed into law in August 2012, imposes sanctions on any entity “providing, enabling, or facilitating access to specialized financial messaging services for the Central Bank of Iran or a U.S.-designated Iranian-linked financial institution.” As confirmed in the chart below, this is exactly what SWIFT is providing for 12 U.S.-designated Iranian banks that remain connected to its network.

SWIFT must immediately expel these 12 banks or face U.S. sanctions. Additionally, the EU must be in lockstep with the U.S. on Iran sanctions by blacklisting these Iranian banks. With these actions, the Iranian regime will be one step closer facing a comprehensive international banking blockade.

Iranian Banks Connected to the SWIFT Network

# Iranian Bank Sanctioned by U.S.?  Sanctioned by EU? SWIFT-BIC Code
1 Bank Day Y (7-12-12) No DAYBIRT1
2 Bank of Industry and Mine Y (5-17-11) No BOIMIRTH
3 Bank Pasargad Y (7-12-12) No BKBPIRTH
4 Bank Eghtesad Novin Y (7-12-12) No BEGNIRTH
5 Bank Keshavarzi Y (6-16-10) No KESHIRTH
6 Bank Maskan Y (6-16-10) No BKMNIRTH
7 Iranian Venezuela Bi-National Bank Y (7-12-12) No IVBBIRTH
8 Islamic Regional Cooperation Bank for Development and Investment Y (7-12-12) No RCDFIQBA
9 Karafarin Bank Y (7-12-12) No KBIDIRTH
10 Parsian Bank Y (7-12-12) No BKPAIRTH
11 Saman Bank Corporation Y (7-12-12) No SABCIRTH
12 Tat Bank Y (7-12-12) No TATBIRTH

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