- Associated Press
Friday, October 9, 2020

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday called on the international community to condemn the Trump administration’s decision to blacklist Iran’s financial sector, the country’s official news agency reported.

According to the IRNA report, Rouhani said in a phone conversation with the head of the country’s central bank, Abdolnasser Hemmati, that the U.S. move was “against international law and regulation as well as inhumane,” coming at a time of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Those who claim to support human rights all over the world, should condemn” the U.S. decision, Rouhani was quoted as saying.

The U.S. move on Thursday hit 18 Iranian banks that had so far escaped the bulk of re-imposed U.S. sanctions and, more importantly, subjects foreign, non-Iranian financial institutions to penalties for doing business with them. Thus, it effectively cuts them off from the international financial system.

Foreign companies that do business with those banks were given 45 days to wind down their operations before facing so-called “secondary sanctions.”

Rouhani said the decision, like previous ones by the Trump administration, which in 2015 pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, will not break the resistance of Iranians.

The Iranian central bank governor, Hemmati, said the U.S. sanctions have created barriers for importing medicine and food to Iran.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif arrived in China to discuss bilateral ties with his Chinese counterpart, IRNA said. Zarif on Thursday reacted angrily to the latest designations by the U.S., calling them a “crime against humanity” at a time of global crisis.

Washington’s move will deepen tensions with European nations and others over Iran. European countries have opposed the blanket financial services blacklisting because it will open up their biggest banks and and other companies to U.S. penalties for conducting business with Iran that had previously been allowed.

Since withdrawing from the nuclear deal, President Donald Trump has steadily increased pressure on Iran by imposing sanctions on its oil sales, blacklisting top government officials and killing a top Iranian general in an airstrike.

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