Iran gets cut off from major international financial system

The international payments system SWIFT today said it is disconnecting all communications services to Iranian financial institutions in support of a new European Council sanctions against the country over nuclear threat concerns.

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The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), based in Brussels, Belgium, said the step to disconnect Iran, which it will do on Saturday March 17, an unprecedented type of move for the organization. SWIFT is executing the move to satisfy a new European Council decision related to sanctions against Iran.

"Disconnecting banks is an extraordinary and unprecedented step for SWIFT. It is a direct result of international and multilateral action to intensify financial sanctions against Iran," said Lazaro Campos, CEO of SWIFT.

SWIFT is a member-owned cooperation whose communications platform connects more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in more than 200 countries through exchange of automated, secure messaging related to transactions.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

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