Sens. Cruz, Cotton, Colleagues Urge President Trump to Sanction Iran’s Financial Sector

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) today sent a letter to President Trump urging him to impose sanctions on the entirety of Iran’s financial sector pursuant to executive order 13902, which was signed earlier this year. The executive order provides the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on additional sectors of the Iranian economy at any time. Sens. Cruz and Cotton were joined by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).

The letter applauds the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on Iran, and urges them to do more to pressure the regime and force it to return to the negotiating table on U.S. terms. They wrote:

Despite these efforts, at least 14 Iranian banks remain open and connected to the SWIFT financial messaging network for sanctions-free financial transactions, providing the regime a crucial economic lifeline. This is despite the fact that most other Iranian financial institutions are under sanctions by the U.S. Treasury for their financial sponsorship of terrorism – including the Central Bank of Iran, which capitalizes these remaining banks and may be using them as fronts for its activities. Should these 14 remaining banks be targeted for U.S. sanctions, Iran would be cut off from the global financial system entirely, and the regime’s ability to fund its malign regional influence would be even further diminished.”

Read the full letter here.

In December 2018, Sen. Cruz introduced legislation sanctioning Iran’s financial sector as part of the Blocking Iranian Illicit Finance Act. The legislation was cosponsored by Sens. Rubio, Cotton, Tillis, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

In February 2019, Sen. Cruz sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin urging the Trump administration to “use the voice and influence of the United States” to ensure that the FATF reimposed countermeasures against Iran. The letter was co-signed by Sens. Cotton, Rubio, and Tillis.