Explained : How SWIFT Handled Sanctions Against Iran?

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In January 2012, the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) implemented a campaign calling on SWIFT to end all relations with Iran's banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran.

New Delhi (ABC Live India): After Russia started War against Ukraine in the month of February 2022, United States and its European Union announced various sanctions on Russia in support of Ukraine including expulsion of Russia from SWIFT.

Before we know what is the current status of west’s threat to exclude Russia from SWIFT we should know what is SWIFT?

How SWIFT Handled Sanctions Against Iran?

In January 2012, the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) implemented a campaign calling on SWIFT to end all relations with Iran's banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran. UANI asserted that Iran's membership in SWIFT violated US and EU financial sanctions against Iran as well as SWIFT's own corporate rules.

Consequently, in February 2012, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved sanctions against SWIFT aimed at pressuring it to terminate its ties with blacklisted Iranian banks. Expelling Iranian banks from SWIFT would potentially deny Iran access to billions of dollars in revenue using SWIFT but not from using IVTS. Mark Wallace, president of UANI, praised the Senate Banking Committee.

Initially SWIFT denied that it was acting illegally,[but later[when?] said that "it is working with U.S. and European governments to address their concerns that its financial services are being used by Iran to avoid sanctions and conduct illicit business".

Targeted banks would be—amongst others—Saderat Bank of Iran, Bank Mellat, Post Bank of Iran and Sepah Bank.

On 17 March 2012, following agreement two days earlier between all 27 member states of the Council of the European Union and the Council's subsequent ruling, SWIFT disconnected all Iranian banks that had been identified as institutions in breach of current EU sanctions from its international network and warned that even more Iranian financial institutions could be disconnected from the network.

In February 2016, most Iranian banks reconnected to the network following the lift of sanctions due to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

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