While well-known U.S. hawks and neoconservatives are pushing for military strikes against Iran in response to the alleged “Iranian plot”, the Obama administration has been attempting to rally support from other countries for further punitive measures against Iran, such as sanctioning its central bank, Bank Markazi. If implemented the U.S. move could effectively block Iran from operating in the global financial system and potentially push the country into financial devastation. As indicated by some Iranian officials, the move could also be interpreted by the Islamic Republic as an act of war.
The idea of sanctioning Iran’s central bank has been touted among U.S. lawmakers since 2008 and was most recently floated in paper form among legislators in August in a letter co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.).
Last week David Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that
- Further U.S. action against CBI, if it engenders multilateral support, could further isolate the CBI. I can assure the Committee that the Administration will continue to carefully weigh the legal bases and policy ramifications of further action against the CBI, and we are committed to continuing to work with the Congress on this crucially important issue.
While claiming that the case against the Iranian government was “dead bang,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein also expressed support for the bid during an interview on “Fox News Sunday” this past weekend.
- Dianne Feinstein: I don’t think the sanctions have been as complete as they should be. I wish they had sanctioned the central bank of Iran and that would affect oil and maybe that’s why they didn’t do it, but that makes a big difference.
Chris Wallace: Is that what you would like to see now?
Dianne Feinstein: Yes.
Feinstein was one of more than 90 senators who signed the letter circulated by Kirk and Schumer in August.