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Eli Lake

Trump Bank Sanctions Will Hit Iran Where It Hurts

Hawks feared that the U.S. would allow access to the global financial communications system, Swift. They were wrong.



Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

For the last month, it looked as though President Donald Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure against Iran would include a loophole.

Sanctions on Iran’s banks, oil exports, ships and ports, lifted in 2015 as part of a nuclear weapons agreement that Trump exited in May, will be reimposed on Monday. But it was not clear until Friday whether those banks would be allowed to participate in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift. That is the system that allows the world’s banks to communicate with one another, making global transactions possible.