The Head of the US Treasury Steven Mnuchin has announced that Washington wants the world-wide payment network to cut off its services to the entities that were affected by Iran sanctions and warned that otherwise SWIFT might be sanctioned as well.
"SWIFT is no different than any other entity. We have advised SWIFT that it must disconnect any Iranian financial institutions that we designate as soon as technologically feasible to avoid sanctions exposure," Mnuchin said.
He added that humanitarian transactions from non-designated entities will be allowed on SWIFT, but warned banks to still be careful since they can turn out to be "disguised transactions [which] could be subject to certain sanctions."
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is a secure Belgium-based network used by banks around the world for safe financial transactions. Without access to SWIFT, banks in any country will have difficulties in paying or receiving payments for goods and services from abroad.
The US announced it will re-impose sanctions against Iran, previously lifted by the JCPOA, on November 5, promising to impose secondary sanctions against any entity that deals with Iran in the sphere of energy, banking, and shipping. The US has also released a list of 12 demands that Tehran must meet in order to lift the sanctions once again.
US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that the US was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as Iran deal — an international agreement reached in 2015 by Iran, the United States, Russia, France, China, the UK, Germany and the EU. The deal lifted sanctions from Iranian entities in exchange for Tehran ensuring the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.