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Sen. Cruz Leads Letter Urging Treasury Department to Cut Off Iranian Regime From Global Banking System

‘The administration’s maximum pressure campaign will not succeed if the Islamic Republic remains connected to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication’

August 23, 2018

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) along with 15 senators sent a letter this week to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin congratulating the Treasury Department for reimposing a wave of sanctions on the Iranian regime and affirming Congressional support for the department’s maximum pressure campaign. The senators urged Secretary Mnuchin to take all necessary steps to ensure the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) disconnects the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and all other designated Iranian financial institutions. The letter was signed by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

“We write to express our support and appreciation for the Treasury Department’s efforts to impose maximum pressure on the Iranian regime,” the senators wrote. “The President’s executive order of August 6, 2018 was the product of hard work by many talented professionals working over several months, and we thank all the Department’s dedicated public servants for their commitment to advancing America’s national security interests. We also share your hope that one day the Iranian people will have a government that represents their interests and invests in their needs, rather than funneling money toward developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, financing terrorism, committing human rights atrocities, and oppressing its citizens.”

The full letter may be viewed here and below.

August 22, 2018

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Secretary Mnuchin,

We write to express our support and appreciation for the Treasury Department’s efforts to impose maximum pressure on the Iranian regime. The President’s executive order of August 6, 2018 was the product of hard work by many talented professionals working over several months, and we thank all the Department’s dedicated public servants for their commitment to advancing America’s national security interests. We also share your hope that one day the Iranian people will have a government that represents their interests and invests in their needs, rather than funneling money toward developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, financing terrorism, committing human rights atrocities, and oppressing its citizens.

We understand that Iran’s leaders are working with American adversaries, and reportedly even with some allies, to circumvent these sanctions. Please be assured that we will urge the President and our congressional colleagues to provide the necessary resources for the Department’s sanctions enforcement efforts. Quick robust enforcement will be critical for the administration’s maximum pressure strategy to succeed, both immediately to drain the Iranian regime’s resources for malign behavior and as a signal of America’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of our sanctions architecture.

In November the Department will re-impose even tougher sanctions on the Iranian regime, including against financial institutions across Iran, which the Department identifies as a jurisdiction of “primary money laundering concern” under section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) disconnects the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and all other designated Iranian financial institutions. The administration’s maximum pressure campaign will not succeed if the Islamic Republic remains connected to SWIFT.

Section 220 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 authorizes the President to impose sanctions on persons providing specialized messaging services to the CBI and all designated Iranian financial institutions, pursuant to section 104(c) of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.  We are encouraged by reports indicating that, if necessary, the President will use that authority to impose sanctions on directors of SWIFT and their employing financial institutions. All banks represented on the board of SWIFT must be held accountable if they circumvent American sanctions and empower the Iranian regime.

Again, thanks to you and the Department for all your efforts. 

Sincerely, 

/s/ 

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