The SWIFT financial messaging service has said it will suspend access for at least some Iranian banks.

The Belgium-based messaging service said it made the decision, "in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system".

SWIFT described the decision that will most likely impact on letter of credit (L/C) business with Iran as "regrettable".

US policy reverse

The global messaging service's decision comes in the wake of the US bringing back financial and other sanctions against Iran that for years severely curtailed Iranian entities' ability to obtain L/Cs and other global financial services.

Washington's decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran came after the US President Donald Trump backed the country out of an international nuclear deal struck in 2015 that aimed to stop Iran's missile and nuclear programmes.

SWIFT sanctions threat

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had warned that sanctions might be served on SWIFT itself if it worked with the 50 or so banks on which sanctions have been imposed.

SWIFT denied access to Iranian banks in 2012 and reconnected them in 2016.

Iran's central bank governor, Abdolnaser Hemmati, has said the country had been anticipating the re-imposition of sanctions and has already been in talks with trading partners to determine ways for cross-border transactions to continue.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.