Republicans in Congress are working on a new bill that will introduce new sanctions against the nation of Iran. The bill is designed to put “maximum financial pressure” on Iran and put an end to its plans for a national crypto asset.
Known as the “Blocking Iranian Illicit Finance Act,” the document was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Congressman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. According to Cruz, Obama’s “disastrous” nuclear deal with Iran gave the Iranian government billion dollars which he alleges they used for illicit purposes.
Will Iran Lose Its Access to Crypto?
In a statement, he says:
“The Obama Iran nuclear deal gifted the Ayatollahs with hundreds of billions of dollars and reconnected them to the global financial system, which they used to launder even more money and fund even more terrorism. Undoing that damage requires imposing maximum pressure against the Iranian regime. Effectively disconnecting Iran from the global financial system, which this bill does, is a necessary next step.”
Congressman Gallagher offered similar sentiment when describing the bill’s abilities and purpose, stating:
“Withdrawing from the JCPOA was only the first step in ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian regime. We now have an important window to impose maximum economic pressure and degrade the Iranian regime’s ability to export violence across the region. [The bill’s] message is clear: Iran must pay a steep price for its aggressive and destabilizing behavior, and the United States will never tolerate its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
The United States exited its nuclear deal with Iran last May, approximately three years since it first came to fruition under President Obama. The U.S. has since worked to impose further economic sanctions on Iran to potentially prevent the government from abusing international monetary systems. To avoid these sanctions, Iran has mentioned that it was looking into producing its own national cryptocurrency.
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Last November, Russia – also facing sanctions from the U.S. – signed a deal with Iran’s blockchain lab to potentially build a counter-actor to the international payment system SWIFT, used by banks worldwide. Earlier in the month, SWIFT announced that it was cutting off the service to varying banks throughout Iran. An official statement read:
“In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system. This step, while regrettable, has been taken in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system.”
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