Home Business Sanctions keep Iran off US banks Monday February 15 2016 email print A man stops at a Bank of America ATM in Washington, DC on February 5, 2014. Iran remains off limits to US banks despite the lifting of some US sanctions following the landmark Iranian nuclear deal. PHOTO | AFP In Summary Iran remains essentially off limits to US banks, despite the lifting of some US sanctions following the landmark Iranian nuclear deal.They mostly cannot handle transactions for US and other companies involved in Iran, and the Iranian government and private entities cannot open accounts with US banks.The sanctions still in place were imposed not over Iran’s nuclear programme but its record on terrorism and human rights. Advertisement By AFP More by this Author NEW YORK, SundayIran remains essentially off limits to US banks, despite the lifting of some US sanctions following the landmark Iranian nuclear deal.The Obama administration in mid-January eased several restrictions on doing business with Iran, including former “secondary” sanctions that had threatened to penalise companies outside the US for their business with Iran, as well as some restrictions on Americans seeking to make inroads in the oil-rich country. Nevertheless, most “primary” sanctions tied to accusations that Tehran supports terrorism remain in effect, blocking US businesses from joining a rush by non-US companies to cash in on Iran’s potential revival.It means that US banks have little access to the oil-rich country compared to their rivals in other countries. They mostly cannot handle transactions for US and other companies involved in Iran, and the Iranian government and private entities cannot open accounts with US banks. Related Content Iran blasts new Western sanctions US says Iran trying to sidestep sanctions on nuclear materials “Broadly, the US primary embargo on Iran is still in place,” John Smith, acting director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), told a congressional panel on Thursday.SANCTIONS IN PLACEThe sanctions still in place were imposed not over Iran’s nuclear programme but its record on terrorism and human rights.That means the easing arising from the nuclear deal so far “does not have any impact on us,” said an official with one large New York bank who requested anonymity. (READ: US orders sanctions on Iran’s ballistic nuclear programme)“We’re still very prohibited from engaging in just about any business activity with Iran except on very limited exceptions.”Several leading US banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, declined comment on the issue.But many remain keen to exploit the Iran opportunity. They have turned to teams of lawyers and other specialists as they plumb the shifting legal terrain.“We continue to monitor the developments in Iran,” said Citigroup spokesman Kamran Mumtaz.Foreign banks operating in the US too remain hemmed in by the sanctions still in place, because they are forbidden from clearing US dollar-denominated transactions involving Iran through US banks, according to OFAC.In addition, some 200 Iran-related individuals and entities on a list of “blocked” persons, including large government entities involved deeply in the economy like the powerful Revolutionary Guards. email print Related Stories Tue Nov 22 16:46:34 EAT 2011 Iran blasts new Western sanctions An angry Iran and its powerful ally Russia on Tuesday slammed new Western sanctions Fri Jan 17 20:09:53 EAT 2014 US says Iran trying to sidestep sanctions on nuclear materials In the headlines The transformation of Ababu and Karua Once some of the fiercest critics of Uhuru and Ruto, LPK and Narc-Kenya leaders are now in Election 2017: Who will be president? Some are career politicians, others are teachers, one recently returned from the US, and another Prosecutors want Boniface Mwangi arrested Ex-Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega dies The rise and fall of Noriega May, Corbyn clash over Brexit Waiguru seeks to block lifestyle audit JUST BRENDA: My girlfriend can't cook, help!