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Impact of SWIFT decision immediate, significant

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(Washington) -- SWIFT’s decision to discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions is the single most substantive measure taken so far against Iran’s financial Institutions, according to Patrick Clawson, the Director of Research at The Washington Institute.

“U.S. and European efforts to impose progressively tougher sanctions have led to this landmark announcement, which is equal to if not more significant than earlier sanctions against Iranian oil,” Clawson says.

Media Availability: Washington Institute Experts on Iran

Patrick Clawson

Dr. Patrick Clawson is director of research at The Washington Institute, where he directs the Iran Security Initiative. Widely consulted as an analyst and media commentator, he has authored more than 150 articles about the Middle East and international economics as well as eighteen books or studies on Iran. Prior to joining The Washington Institute, he was a senior research professor at the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies, a senior economist at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and a research scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

Matthew Levitt

Dr. Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Previously, he served as a State Department counterterrorism advisor to the special envoy for Middle East regional security (SEMERS), General James L. Jones. Also, from 2005 to early 2007, he served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where he played a central role in efforts to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse and to deny terrorists, weapons proliferators, and other rogue actors the ability to finance threats to U.S. national security.

Mehdi Khaliji

Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on the politics of Iran and Shiite groups in the Middle East. A Shiite theologian by training, he previously worked for BBC Persian as a political analyst on Iranian affairs, eventually becoming a broadcaster for the Prague-based Radio Farda, the Persian-language service of the U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. At Radio Farda, he produced news, features, and analysis on a range of Middle Eastern, Iranian, and Islamic issues.

Michael Singh

Michael Singh is managing director of The Washington Institute and a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council. At the White House, Mr. Singh’s portfolio included a wide range of issues, from Iran, to the Arab-Israeli peace process, to promoting human rights in the region. Previously, he served as special assistant to secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell and was staff assistant to then ambassador Daniel Kurtzer at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.

About the Washington Institute

The Washington Institute is an independent, nonpartisan research institution that advances a balanced and realistic understanding of U.S. interest in the broader Middle East. Drawing on the research of its fellows and the experience of its policy practitioners, the Institute promotes informed debate and scholarly research on U.S. policy in the region.