08:22 GMT +318 October 2018
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    EU Tries to Persuade US to Exempt SWIFT From Iran Sanctions

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    Washington’s sanctions against Tehran would fundamentally change other countries’ economic cooperation with the Islamic Republic, the Financial Times has written.

    EU finance ministers will try to persuade the US administration not to disconnect Iran from the international payment system SWIFT, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

    SWIFT is a global financial messaging service that connects more than 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries.

    “Our ask is: why bother ripping out all of the electrical cables from a building if you can switch off a light,” said a European diplomat who confirmed the planned meetings.“If you can designate a bank [for sanctions] then there’s no need to force Swift to disconnect from Iran,” he added.

    According to the newspaper, this is the issue the EU finance ministers are going to bring up when they meet their US counterpart Steven Mnuchin at the annual IMF and World Bank gathering in Indonesia, scheduled to run until October 14.

    Earlier, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that the forthcoming US sanctions against Tehran would fundamentally change other countries’ economic cooperation with Iran.

    He failed to clarify, however, whether Washington would punish the management of the SWIFT payment system if it keeps working with Iranian banks.

    “I don’t know the decision with respect to SWIFT in particular. There are still a number of decisions pending before the November 1 deadline,” Pompeo told a September 17 news briefing.

    France, Germany and the UK, all of them signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which the US withdrew from in May, are “frustrated that they have not been able to convince the Trump administration to take a softer line on Belgium-based SWIFT,” the newspaper wrote.

    READ MORE: Russia Should Consider Euro, Yuan-Based Alternatives to SWIFT — Business Group

    The remaining signatories to the agreement — Russia, Britain, Germany, France and China — remain committed to the deal.

    The European Union has activated the so-called “blocking statute,” which declares US sanctions void on EU territory and prohibits European companies from abiding by them.

    Related:

    'Independent SWIFT' Issue Amid US Sanctions Shows EU Colossus With Feet of Clay
    EU Sees Idea to Create 'Independent SWIFT' to Secure Iran Deal - Source
    Tags:
    European companies, SWIFT, Iran sanctions, EU, International Monetary Fund, Steven Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, United States, Europe
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