Plans to Bar Iran from SWIFT Messaging Would Drive Use of Alternative Payment Channels

By Colby Adams

Proposals to bar Iranian financial institutions from a global interbank messaging service would impose additional costs on Iran's banks without entirely blocking them from accessing Western financial institutions. Earlier this month, U.S. lawmakers proposed sanctions that would require the Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) to drop its ties with Iranian banks. The banking consortium said in a Feb. 17 statement that EU officials are drafting similar measures that would "directly affect" its ability to facilitate messages for blacklisted Iranian institutions. The banking consortium is "definitely capable" of screening and rejecting transactions originating from Iran, said a Swift...