İrem UZUN -TDO- The United States on Thursday slapped fresh sanctions on Iran’s financial sector, targeting 18 Iranian banks in an effort to further shut Iran out of the global banking system as Washington ramps up pressure on Tehran weeks ahead of the U.S. election.

In a statement, the Treasury said it had identified the financial sector of Iran’s economy as an additional avenue that funds the Iranian government’s malign activities.  The sanctions Trump has reinstated target everything from oil sales to shipping and financial activities, and while they exempt food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies, many foreign banks are already deterred from doing business with the Islamic Republic - including for humanitarian deals. 

European nations have opposed a blanket sanctioning of Iran’s financial sector because it exposes foreign banks that do business with the blacklisted banks and other companies to punitive measures by Washington.  In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: “Today’s actions will continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people.” 

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has commented on the new U.S. sanctions, said that “Washington wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food and medicine. Iranians will survive this latest of cruelties.  But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity. Culprits & enablers-who block our money-will face justice".

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