A U.S. official's threat last month of economic sanctions against four Chinese banks is likely to be toothless given economic and enforcement hurdles, say sanctions analysts.
The U.S. Treasury Department's sanctions arm Tuesday blacklisted a Hamburg, Germany-based bank for its alleged ties to four blacklisted Iranian banks.
The U.S. Senate won't consider an Iran sanctions bill overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday until a negotiation deadline set by the Obama administration expires, say analysts.
The U.S. Treasury Department called on financial institutions Thursday to stop processing dollar transactions involving Iran, even when no American parties are involved.
The U.S. government Wednesday blacklisted a fifth Iranian bank for allegedly helping the country build nuclear weapons, the latest move in escalating efforts to hem in Iran and convince Europe to follow suit.
As more mainstream banking channels are closed off to Iran, its businesses have turned to smaller, more obscure financial providers beyond the reach of U.S. jurisdiction and influence. That has resulted in higher compliance costs for financial institutions with a presence in the United States.
The sanctions are part of a "comprehensive" drive by the U.S. to increase pressure on Iran, said Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. That effort has been frustrated by the hesitation of the United Nations and international community in following the U.S.
The designation would officially block all or part of Iran's 125,000-strong Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's elite military unit, from dealing with U.S. financial institutions.
Two of the most stringent of several federal bills meant to increase pressure on Iran would forbid banks from processing transactions indirectly tied to Iranian entities. The bills, H.R.1400 and S.970, jointly called the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, would prohibit u-turn transactions.