- Since 2005, the United States has incrementally imposed financial sanctions on Iranian banks for helping finance Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and terrorist groups. Sanctions are also a response to Iran's deceptive financial practices that threaten to undermine the stability of the international banking system.
- U.S. measures also include informal actions to leverage market forces by highlighting the reputational risk of doing business with a bank engaged in illicit financial conduct.
- Banking sanctions alone will not solve the problem of Iran’s nuclear program. But, coupled with diplomatic and military tools, they can disrupt Iran’s illicit activities, deter third parties from facilitating those activities and induce Iran to reconsider its pursuit of illicit activities.
- In today’s globalized economy, even unilateral U.S. financial measures against Iran complicate Tehran’s ability to engage in international business, commerce and finance. But multilateral efforts are still preferable for the international legitimacy they confer and their constricting effects.
- Refused international inspections of its nuclear facilities
- Engaged in deceptive financial conduct harmful to the international financial system
- Rejected diplomatic overtures and negotiations.
- To succeed, targeted financial measures must be credible. This may require follow-up efforts—ranging from additional sanctions to the possibility of military action—in the event that Iran fails to comply with its international obligations on its controversial nuclear program.
- Finding the right combination of financial sanctions is critical. The tool kit includes unilateral, multilateral and regional sanctions; formal and informal sanctions; offensive and defensive measures; and targeted and country-wide sanctions.
- Due to insufficient refining capacity, Iran still imports 30 percent of its oil from foreign refineries for domestic consumption. Limiting Iran’s ability to import refined petroleum could be a powerful tool in exploiting one of the regime’s primary vulnerabilities.
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“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 experts—Western and Iranian—in comprehensive but concise online chapters on Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. It chronicles U.S.-Iran relations under six U.S. presidents. It also offers policy options, timelines, leader bios, data on nuclear sites—and context for what lies ahead. Click here to order a hardcopy. Timely articles are added weekly at the top.