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Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov calls US’ pressure on SWIFT "unacceptable"

November 06, 19:15 UTC+3 MADRID

As for the US sanctions against Iran, the minister said they are "absolutely illegitimate"

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MADRID, November 6. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that US pressure on the SWIFT payment system was unacceptable.

"Now, within a joint group of participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) [on the Iranian nuclear program], mechanisms are being worked out that will make it possible to continue implementing the provisions of this document, primarily with regard to economic ties with Iran and without US participation," Lavrov said.

"This is not an easy task. You see, what unacceptable methods have already been used to put pressure on SWIFT system operators," the minister stressed.

"But experts are working intensively on this issue. They have a fairly stable understanding that this is possible and that such measures will be found," he added.

The minister said that the US sanctions against Iran are absolutely illegitimate.

"As for the US measures against Iran, they are absolutely illegitimate. They are taken as a flagrant violation of the UN Security Council's decision," Lavrov said.

"We proceed from the fact that no one has abolished the norms of not only international law, but also of international communication, and it is hardly permissible to pursue a policy based on ultimatums and unilateral demands in our time," he added.

"We proceed from the fact that the JCPOA, which was signed and approved unanimously in 2015 by the UN Security Council, retains its strength for those who retained their participation in this mechanism. After the US’s exit from the JCPOA, both Europeans and Russia confirmed their participation in it as well as China, and Iran itself," the Russian Foreign Minister added.

SWIFT (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) provides a network that enables banks worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions.

On Monday, SWIFT banking information transfer system announced that the access of several banks in Iran to its messaging system had been suspended. In this regard, head of Iran’s Central Bank Abdolnaser Hemmati said that the country's banks will be able to use alternative settlement options after SWIFT refused to service their accounts due to US sanctions.

US sanctions

On May 8, US President Donald Trump declared Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, a deal that was inked in 2015 and restricted Tehran’s nuclear developments in exchange for the abolishment of sanctions by the UN Security Council and unilateral restrictive measures introduced by the US and the EU. Trump promised both to return the former sanctions and introduce new ones, and the US Department of State reported in this regard Washington’s decision to diminish Iran’s revenues from oil exports.

The first part of the US sanctions was relaunched overnight into August 7. These restrictive measures covered Iran’s car building industry and the trading of gold and other metals. The other sanctions, including against the Iranian oil industry, came into effect on November 5.

On Monday the US Treasury announced that Washington had imposed anti-Iranian sanctions against more than 700 individuals, entities, aircraft and ships.

Among the sanctioned entities are Iran Air (the national airline), Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization and Central Bank.

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