Blocked by Sanctions, Iranian Institutions Offer Investments for Access to Bank Messenger

By Brian Monroe

The government of Iran and banks under its influence are increasingly using investments in foreign financial institutions as a means to circumvent sanctions, including restrictions on interbank messages, say sources. In March, the European Council ordered the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or Swift, to suspend its messaging services for 30 Iranian banks suspected of aiding the nation's nuclear program. Under the measure, the Brussels-based consortium can still process interbank messages for more than a dozen Iranian financial institutions. U.S. lawmakers followed suit in August with the passage of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, which...