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A handout image from the Iran International Photo Agency shows a view of the reactor building at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Photo: IIPA via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Thursday imposed a sweeping set of sanctions on 18 major Iranian banks in a move that could blow apart the international remnants of the country's 2015 nuclear deal.

Why it matters: "The move all but severs Iran from the global financial system, slashing the few remaining legal links it has and making it more dependent on informal or illicit trade," per Bloomberg.

  • "Some believe that Thursday’s action could destroy any chance of salvaging the accord by making it impossible for Iranian banks to have any relationships with their foreign counterparts," writes the AP.
  • The Treasury said in a statement that the sanctions "deny the Iranian government financial resources that may be used to fund and support its nuclear program, missile development, terrorism and terrorist proxy networks, and malign regional influence."

Flashback: The Trump administration reimposed sanctions against Iran last month as part of its "maximum pressure" campaign against the country. It said the sanctions were intended reinforce a 2007 UN arms embargo set to expire this month.

What they're saying: "Today’s action to identify the financial sector and sanction eighteen major Iranian banks reflects our commitment to stop illicit access to U.S. dollars," said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

  • "Our sanctions programs will continue until Iran stops its support of terrorist activities and ends its nuclear programs. Today’s actions will continue to allow for humanitarian transactions to support the Iranian people."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

Criticism of the Fed is going mainstream

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big names in the world of finance are beginning to call out the Fed and other central banks for their role in ramping up economic inequality and manipulating financial markets — a departure from the praise they received for most of last year.

Why it matters: Wall Street was the only pillar of solid support. Most Americans say they don't trust the Fed and politicians look to be taking aim at the central bank for overreaching with its unprecedented actions in March.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.

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