In the latest developments, the US has designated the Central Bank of Iran as a “primary money laundering concern” under the USAPATRIOT Act. As a result of that sanction and Great Britain’s penalizing Iran for the wrecking of the British embassy in Tehran, Iran is being isolated from the international banking system, with severe consequences for the Iranian dinar.
Worse is to come, as new US legislation takes effect that will penalize any foreign bank that does business with Iran to facilitate its sales of crude oil. The complementary unfolding plan for Western countries to curtail purchases of Iranian crude oil will strike a body blow to the Iranian economy.
While the stated purposes of these economic sanctions is to pressure Iran to return to the nuclear negotiating table, US officials have been explicit in declaring that for Washington, at least, the sanctions have broader goals. In particular, the Obama administration hopes to force Iran to end its support for international terrorism and its glaring human rights abuses.
In effect, Washington has used the nuclear issue as a rallying point to impose sanctions that seek to undermine the Iranian regime at large. Some have suggested that the unstated goal of the current round of sanctions is really to foment regime change in Tehran. A frequent Western tactic has been to blackball entire organizations linked to the regime – such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, and various Iranian banks – once even a small fraction of their activities is found to have provided direct support for the country’s nuclear program.