What Happened: The United States is mulling whether to impose sanctions on Iran's Special Trade and Finance Institute (STFI), the body that handles transactions between the Islamic republic and Europe, Bloomberg reported June 10, citing a White House official.
Why It Matters: Any U.S. move against the STFI would effectively scuttle INSTEX, the special-purpose financing mechanism with which Brussels hopes to circumvent American sanctions while processing Iranian-European humanitarian trade.
Background: Brussels has said INSTEX can only be implemented if Tehran ensures that the STFI complies with the Financial Action Task Force to prevent terrorism financing. But during the force's next plenary meeting from June 16 to 21, it may refuse to grant Iran another reprieve over the country's failure to pass relevant legislation.
- Increasing U.S. Sanctions Pressure Raises the Risks of Iranian Retaliation (May 16, 2019)
- EU: Europe Moves to Get Around U.S. Sanctions on Iran (Jan. 31, 2019)
- Iran: The West Turns Up the Sanctions Heat (April 3, 2019)