The Wall Street Journal – The U.S. is once again talking publicly about whether to impose sanctions on the Iran central bank.
However, Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said to a House committee Tuesday that it hasn’t acted yet because the U.S. doesn’t want to hand Tehran easy money or harm the Iranian people, according to an AFP report.
“That proposal or idea has not been abandoned. It’s very much on the table as are all options that we could take that would credibly and meaningfully impact Iran,” he said.
But among the worries expressed by U.S. officials over imposing this sanction are that it would cause a spike in the price of oil, because Iran uses its central bank to process most payments for crude.
“If there’s a spike in the price of oil, Iran could be facing a windfall,” Szubin said, warning of “plausible scenarios in which there could be profound harm to the global economic recovery and a windfall to Iran.”
Despite this concern, sanctioning Bank Markazi, as the Iranian central bank is known, has been a favored choice of several lawmakers, and was a suggested policy proposal by Texas Gov. Rick Perry during a recent debate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Nevertheless, Henry Wooster, acting U.S. deputy secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs said during his testimony to the House committee that sanctioning Bank Markazi could adversely affect relations with youthful Iranian dissidents who approve of the U.S.
“We need to be careful in a lot of what we do to make sure that we’re, you know, not alienating a group of individuals that we want to work with and have relationship with over the long term as long as they can stop being held hostage by their government,” he said.