Risky Business: Sanctions Exert Maximum Pressure On Iran

Regime’s Currency Crisis Continues as UANI Calls for SWIFT Termination

It’s been less than six months since President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and his intention to re-impose sanctions against Iran. In that time, European leaders have launched an unprecedented effort to keep foreign capital flowing to Tehran, but their efforts have failed. The steady stream of global businesses abandoning Iran over the past several years has turned into a flood of defections. Their decisions have turned the Iranian economy upside down, reducing the regime’s ability to pursue its malevolent machinations.

Today, the value of the rial, which has lost about three-quarters of its value, is nearly worthless. The exchange rate has plunged from 9,600 to the U.S. dollar in September 2008 to a record low of 190,000 to the U.S. dollar just two weeks ago.

Inflation, too, is up by more than 5.5 percent month-over-month and an astonishing 24.2 percent year-over-year. Unemployment remains high. And the economy as a whole, according to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest World Economic Outlook, is projected to contract by 1.5 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year.

If the IMF’s 2018 projections hold, it will represent a 14 percent drop in gross domestic product (GDP) over two years – larger than the 13.4 percent decline between 2010 and 2012.

“The Iranian economy is in free fall despite European efforts to maintain and even increase business and financial ties. And there is still much that can be done to ensure the regime is economically isolated. For starters, SWIFT needs to terminate its relationship with the Iranian banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran and other sanction-designated banks,” said UANI President David Ibsen.

SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a Belgium-based financial messaging system for banks providing cross-border transfers for its members across the globe.

UANI is in contact with the American and European member banks on the SWIFT Board of Directors and has urged them to protect the integrity of the global financial system from Iran’s terror financing and money laundering activities. The move to end any affiliation with Iran would result in extreme financial distress for the regime and bring them closer to the negotiating table.

“Economic pressure has been the only successful means to force Iran to seriously negotiate. Right now, the regime is on its heels. Between its support for the Assad regime, fueling the war in Yemen, funding Hezbollah and Hamas, and pouring resources into developing advanced ballistic missile capabilities, Tehran has over-extended itself,” said Ibsen. “UANI is working around the clock to align the leaders of the banks on SWIFT’s Board behind a decision to disconnect Iran. We can strike a decisive blow.”

The UANI effort is in keeping with current U.S. policy, which National Security Adviser John Bolton characterized at the organization’s annual Iran Summit last month in New York as “a maximum pressure campaign” designed to force the regime in Tehran into making a choice between continuing its destabilizing activities or continuing and facing “economic disaster.”

“UANI supports a full economic blockade to force real change in Iran. There is no reason for any responsible government to provide aid packages to Tehran or encourage businesses to explore opportunities in the country. Doing so only fuels terror, turmoil and tension. It has to stop,” said Ibsen.