FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2012
Contact: Nathan Carleton, [email protected]
Phone: (212) 554-3296
UANI Issues Statement Following SWIFT's Announcement to Discontinue Services to EU-Sanctioned Iranian Financial Institutions
New York, NY - United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) CEO, Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, issued the following statement Thursday regarding SWIFT's announcement that it will "discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions," beginning Saturday at 16:00 GMT:
UANI applauds SWIFT for making the correct decision. The Iranian regime should not have access to the international financial system, and this is a significant step in the right direction.
We continue to call on SWIFT to discontinue financial services to Iranian financial institutions that are also subject to U.S. sanctions, several of which the EU has not itself designated. Ultimately and as soon as possible, SWIFT must disconnect all Iranian financial institutions, given that the Iranian regime will obviously try to use non-designated banks to circumvent these regulations. SWIFT must comply with U.S. law.
We accordingly also call on U.S. lawmakers to sanction all Iranian banks. In order to implement the most robust sanctions in history, Iran should be cut off from the international banking system. Responsible countries and institutions must comply with the international banking blockade on Iran.
UANI launched its SWIFT campaign in January, submitting a detailed legal explanation to SWIFT, international banking and regulatory officials, and U.S. lawmakers, showing how SWIFT was in violation of U.S. and EU sanctions--as well as its own bylaws--by affording Iranian banks BICs and access to the SWIFT system.
UANI also sent its analysis to individual members of SWIFT's Board of Directors, stating that "SWIFT jeopardizes its good reputation if it continues its work with Iran's financial institutions."
That week, members of the U.S. Senate drafted and introduced an amendment that would sanction SWIFT. SWIFT, after initially defending its work with Iran, subsequently pledged to "find the right multilateral legal framework which will enable SWIFT to address the issues."
UANI has also been in consultations with international banking regulatory officials, after calling on regulators to "take immediate action to ensure SWIFT's compliance with applicable U.S. and EU sanctions law and to ensure that SWIFT complies with its own rules related to corporate governance and membership eligibility."
Click here to read UANI's original letter to SWIFT.