U.S. expected to impose new sanctions on Iran's financial sector - source
From Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is preparing to impose new sanctions on the Iranian financial industry as early as Thursday, a Republican Congress adviser said as Washington increased pressure on Tehran weeks ahead of a major US election.
The move that would effectively exclude Iran from the global financial sector came after the United States announced last month it would roll back or resume virtually all UN sanctions against Iran, a claim opposed by key European allies by most Members of the UN Security Council including Russia and China.
The Washington Post first reported on the US plan.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have increased since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal concluded by his predecessor in 2018 and began to re-impose the sanctions eased under the agreement.
US sanctions have paralyzed the Iranian economy. President Hassan Rouhani said in June that his country had had its toughest year due to economic pressures from the US and the coronavirus pandemic that hit the Islamic Republic hard.
Iranian hawks inside and outside the Trump administration have been pushing for the alignment of the entire Iranian financial sector for some time.
Iranian oil exports, a major source of income for the OPEC member, fell to their lowest level in decades earlier this year. However, according to experts, Thursday's move could affect the Islamic Republic's ability to secure humanitarian goods such as medicines.
The U.S. sanctions Trump has re-imposed range from oil sales to shipping to financial activities. Although foreign food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies are tax exempt, many foreign banks are already barred from doing business with the Islamic Republic - including humanitarian deals.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Michael Perry)
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