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US poised to tighten sanctions on Iran over terror financing


[FILES] US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin walks in the Rose Garden of the White House after listening to US President Donald Trump speak during an event in Washington, DC, June 14, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

The United States is set to increase pressure on Iran for failing to head off funds to terrorists, threatening new sanctions if Tehran fails to comply, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday.

Amid rising tensions in recent days after Iran shot down an American drone, President Donald Trump early Friday appeared to preview the tougher stance on Twitter, saying “Sanctions are biting & more added last night.”

The country has faced a growing series of US economic sanctions over the past year, as Treasury has blacklisted numerous firms and officials to choke off their access to funds following Trump’s decision to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor.

In a speech in Florida, Mnuchin called out “Iran’s willful failure to address its systemic money laundering and terrorist financing deficiencies.”

He said an international task force will set a new deadline for the country to comply or face additional sanctions.

The 38-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had suspended measures against Iran but in February warned that it would be subject to increased scrutiny if it failed to implement promised reforms by this month to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Mnuchin also said the FATF would call for suspended sanctions to be reimposed “if Iran does not make further progress,” and would require “increased supervisory examination for branches and subsidiaries of financial institutions based in Iran.

A Trump administration official told AFP in an email the task force would on Friday afternoon announce the new oversight requirements and deadline as well as the “additional counter-measures” Iran could face if it fails to comply by the deadline.

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