United States, Iran, Jackie North discussed on Morning Edition

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The Trump administration has been talking about possibly using military force against Iran, and we should be clear so far. There's a lot of signaling though, sign of shooting. The US has deployed additional warships and planes to the Gulf region in recent days, and top administration officials will brief members of congress today, the president is warned that the US would use quote great force, if note the if, if Iran were to attack us interests, they've been very hostile. They've Julie been the number one. Provocateur of Tara, buddy, also left some room for negotiation. They called. We would certainly goes yet, but that's going to be up to them. I don't really want them to call. They're ready. The administration, of course, has been threatening economic steps against anyone doing business with Iran, especially buying Ronning oil many companies around the world, scrambling to make sure they don't violate those newly imposed sanctions and NPR's. Jackie north has been looking into the sanctions. Jackie good morning. Always the US is not just hitting you on with sanctions. They're penalizing companies for doing business with Iran. How does that work? How do they find out? Well, the US dollar is the most commonly used currency in the world and the majority of transactions, whether you know, it's wire transfers or currency exchanges payments are done in the dollar, and those transactions will electrically run through about a half a dozen major banks in the US. You can imagine the computers in those banks watch trillions of transactions, and they have software that will alert them. If a person or company on a US sanctions list is trying to do a transaction. They'll then alert the treasury department in you know the penalties can be big four years ago. The French Bank PNB para BNP parable was fined nine billion dollars for violating those sanctions against business with Iran. Now that those sanctions have been reimposed companies. Let me tell you are scrambling to comply nine billion dollars. I underline the scramble. What are some of the steps, he's companies are taking to stay on the right side of this. Well, a lot of more proactively scrutinizing their transactions, and I'm told many international companies are hiring. Former treasury department officials to help make sure they're in compliance. Not violating USA. I dug down into some quarterly financial reports from Amazon and found that they've been going through their transactions with a fine tooth comb. They have declaration, saying they've discovered sales, and or deliveries of books and jewelry, and toys even pet products. It's too Arrhenius embassies consulates since twenty twelve you know, the even mentioned a twenty dollar delivery to someone who may have been working with the Iranian government. So, you know, it's better to go back and look rather than face one of these very heavy fines, or even be banned from the US financial system. The US pro reimpose sanctions on Iran after President Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal, but other countries still do support the deal. Can they get a reprieve from these sanctions? It's, it's really difficult to do that. Because the dollar is so pervasive Europe, has talked about creating they're calling special purpose vehicle to do these transactions with Iran is sort of a separate payment system in it's usually as you say involving oil, but they haven't figured out to do it, and it just hasn't hasn't got off the ground. You know, companies don't wanna appear to be working around the White House and risk getting a cut out of the US financial systems. There's other ways, there's trading and bartering with Iran for goods. But it's cumbersome. And again it runs. Risk of crossing the US, NPR's international affairs. Correspondent Jackie north. Jackie thanks so much. Thank you. This is NPR.

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