Nov 5, 2018

SWIFT payments system suspends Iranian banks as U.S. sanctions return

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Belgium-based payments system SWIFT — a linchpin of the global financial system that allows Iran to get paid for its oil, pay for its imports and finance its activities abroad — announced Monday it is "suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system," reports the Financial Times.

Why it matters: Ensuring that Iranian banks remain plugged into the SWIFT network was a key part of Europe's strategy to keep the Iran deal alive, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported in August. Now that SWIFT has announced it will comply with new U.S. sanctions, Europe could seek to activate a special payments system to maintain trade ties with Iran. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warned Monday that such a move could trigger sanctions against any financial institution that engages in "certain significant transactions" with Iran.

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Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.