In one of the last conceivable financial moves the United States can possibly take against the Iranian banking system, the Bush Administration announced today that they will prevent US banks from processing transactions for Iranian banks even if the transactions were initiated in offshore banks. The US has been targeting Iranian banks for sanctions for years now, and has also pressured other nations to do the same.
The latest escalation of US sanctions against Iran is contrasted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory statement to President-elect Barack Obama, which some analysts see as a gesture indicating Iran’s openness to reconciliation after nearly three decades of hostility with the US.
During the primary season, Obama spoke several times of the need for talks with Iran, something the Bush administration has resisted. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned Obama today against the possibility of talks with Iran, saying dialogue “could be interpreted as a message of weakness.”