The US imposed sanctions on three Iranian banks in October 2007 and expanded sanctions to several other Iranian banks over time – more than 20 by 2011.
In March 2008, the UN called on countries to “exercise vigilance” over the activities of financial institutions based in Iran, particularly Bank Melli and Bank Saderat.
A 2010 law further strengthened US sanctions on Iranian banks. It also imposed penalties on companies that provide large amounts of petroleum to Iran and barred foreign banks from doing business in the US if they also do business with Iranian banks or Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. It specifically sanctioned Bank Refah in 2011 for its role in Iran’s purchase of millions of dollars worth of tanks and missiles.
EU sanctions were expanded in 2011 to include over 100 more companies and people already under EU sanctions, including banks that do business with Iran and many companies owned or run by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.