WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is pressuring the European Union and a global electronic banking system to expel Iranian banks from the network, another step in Western efforts to deprive Tehran of funds needed to develop nuclear weapons.
Kicking Iranian banks out of the Belgium-based SWIFT or Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, would cut off one of the only remaining avenues for Iran to do business with the rest of the world.
SWIFT facilitates the bulk of the world's cross-border payments, exchanging 18 million payment messages per day between banks and other financial institutions in 210 countries.
The United States and Europe have already slapped sanctions on Iran's central bank, the main clearinghouse for the country's oil revenues, which would punish Tehran's trading partners if they continue to buy Iranian oil.
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