Latest US Sanctions Meant to Make Humanitarian Trade with Iran More Difficult: Paul Pillar
Paul R. Pillar, a retired CIA officer, says the latest US moves against Iran have been designed to make it even harder than before to conduct humanitarian trade with Tehran, including the supply of medicine and foodstuff to the nation.
Washington has in recent days started a new set of requirements for the supply of humanitarian goods and products to Iran, asking all banks across the world to provide it with all the information of any kind of trade with Iran, including details of the account holders and payments. While the US administration has claimed that it will introduce a mechanism of its own in unspecified future to do such trade with Iran, experts across the globe, including those in the US, believe the rules are meant to deter banks and companies from doing humanitarian trade with Iran and defuse an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that required the US administration to remove its sanctions on the supply of humanitarian cargoes to Iran, and that Washington's vague words about a new mechanism are only meant to be a sweetener to hide the US real intentions. Some others believe Washington also means to extract information from the world banks to make its sanctions against Iran more efficient.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, Pillar, who is now a nonresident senior fellow at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies, said, “Banks would have to report in detail which individuals or organizations in Iran they are doing business with. The US Treasury can use this information in selecting targets for additional sanctions.”
Below is the full text of the interview:
Q: Under the new US sanctions humanitarian trade with Iran becomes harder in comparison with what it was before. That's why the US has notified that it has to be done based on the financial mechanism it creates. What do you think of it?
A: The latest US moves regarding finance and Iran will make it even harder than before to conduct humanitarian trade with Iran. Although the US administration ostensibly has provided a channel for financing such trade, the new requirements it has slapped on foreign banks give those banks additional reason to be afraid of facilitating any commerce with Iran, and to fear being sanctioned themselves by the United States.
Q: Do the United States' new sanctions rules, that Washington claims will be accompanied by a humanitarian financial mechanism which is yet to be introduced, aim to facilitate food and medicine supply to Iran or extract information for future sanctions?
A: Certainly most of the foreign banks involved will conclude that the mechanism is mainly one for gathering information, including information that can be used to impose further sanctions.
Q: What information can the US get out of this kind of trade?
A: Banks would have to report in detail which individuals or organizations in Iran they are doing business with. The US Treasury can use this information in selecting targets for additional sanctions.
Q: As you know, non- European financial exchanges have to be informed to the US. Then, would non-US banks risk for such trade with Iran?
A: Yes, they would be exposed to such risk, which is why many of them will decide not to become involved in any trade with Iran, even of a humanitarian nature.
Source: Fars News