The move will isolate Iran financially by making it almost impossible for money to flow in and out of the country via official banking channels. It will hit its oil industry, but may also have a heavy impact on Iranians who live abroad and send money home. The move follows EU sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The US and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons – a charge it denies. Iran last week agreed to hold talks with six major world powers over its nuclear programme, although no date or venue has been set.
Almost all banking transactions pass through Belgium-based Swift, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is sometimes called the “glue” that holds the financial system together. Swift will pull the plug at 1600 GMT on Saturday, in what is all but the final blow to Iranian business dealings.
Its announcement coincides with news that major money exchange houses in the nearby United Arab Emirates have stopped handling Iranian rials over the last few weeks, something that has further reduced Iran’s ability to trade and acquire hard currency.
Iran’s business activities had already been restricted by US anti-money laundering legislation which made it risky for banks around the world to do business with Iran, including trade financing.
Source: BBC News
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