When the Trump Administration withdrew from the P5+1 nuclear deal last year, they moved to reimpose all sanctions eased by the deal. It was broadly assumed among US officials that everyone would go along with that, and while they haven’t, there is particular non-compliance among Iranians, who never intended to go along with unilateral US sanctions to begin with.
On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against what they described as a “vast network” of Iranians defying existing sanctions, but which would more accurately be called about 25 people and a handful of foreign subsidiaries of Iran’s Ansar Bank.
US sanctions broadly intend to deny Iran any access to international banking, but with subsidiaries in Turkey and the UAE, Ansar Bank was able to move money around in defiance of US intentions, albeit not in violation of any actual laws in the jurisdictions where the transactions took place.
This led to new sanctions, threats to freeze assets, and more warnings that no one had better do business with the new targets or they’ll face even newer sanctions. This is almost certain to be an endless cycle of sanctions, as Iran really has no reason not to keep trying to bank, and US threats will always be somewhat short of perfect and absolute.
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