Brussels, 15 March 2012 – Following an EU Council decision, SWIFT is today announcing it has been instructed to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions.This closes off virtually all legitimate means of access to the international financial system, for every Iranian asset that matters.
The new European Council decision, as confirmed by the Belgian Treasury, prohibits companies such as SWIFT to continue to provide specialised financial messaging services to EU-sanctioned Iranian banks. SWIFT is incorporated under Belgian law and has to comply with this decision as confirmed by its home country government.
Hang on to your hats, folks. The sanctions regime just got teeth.