EU: why bother cutting Iran’s access to Swift if you can switch off light

EU: why bother cutting Iran’s access to Swift if you can switch off light

European finance ministers will try to persuade the Trump administration not to cut off Iran’s access to Swift, the global financial messaging service, in meetings with Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, at the IMF gathering in Bali this week, the Financial Times reported.

"Our ask is: why bother ripping out all of the electrical cables from a building if you can switch off a light. If you can designate a bank [for sanctions] then there’s no need to force Swift to disconnect from Iran," a European diplomat who confirmed the planned meetings explained.

The disagreement over Swift was heading for "a diplomatic train wreck", according to another person familiar with the matter. European officials who met US officials last month to ask for leniency have so far drawn a blank. 

"We did a démarche to the administration, but it was a complete blockage; they didn’t listen to our argument," a second European official said. 

The Trump administration has yet to reach a final conclusion on how to treat Iranian commercial banks, although many believe it is likely to reimpose sanctions on the central bank and cut it off from Swift.

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