Iran is finding it increasingly difficult to access the large-scale, sophisticated financial services it needs to run its economy due to global sanctions, a senior US Treasury official said on Wednesday.
Stuart Levey, the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told US lawmakers that United Nations-backed sanctions imposed over the summer are inflicting pain on Tehran.
"With great regularity, major companies are announcing that they have curtailed or completely pulled out of business dealings with Iran," Levey said in prepared testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.
"And, as has been widely reported, Iran's leadership appears to have underestimated the severity and effects of the global financial measures, giving rise to internal Iranian criticism and finger pointing," Levey added.
On Tuesday, the US Treasury Department said it extended weapons-related sanctions against Iran to 10 additional businesses and five individuals it said were affiliated with Bank Mellat and state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.
The Treasury previously blacklisted Bank Mellat and IRISL under sanctions targeting alleged supporters of Iran's nuclear weapons development program.
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