U.S. Sanctions Iran Central Bank Governor for Alleged Terrorist Support

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U.S. Sanctions Iran Central Bank Governor for Alleged Terrorist Support

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Tuesday on Iran’s central bank governor and another senior official in the bank for allegedly providing support for terrorist activities.

Treasury named Valiollah Seif, Iran’s central bank governor, and Ali Tarzali, the assistant director of the international department at the central bank of Iran, as “specially designated global terrorists” for allegedly assisting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force to support Hezbollah. The U.S. accused Seif of playing a role in funneling millions of dollars on behalf of the Quds Force to support Hezbollah.

“It is appalling, but not surprising, that Iran’s senior-most banking official would conspire with the IRGC-QF to facilitate funding of terror groups like Hizballah, and it undermines any credibility he could claim in protecting the integrity of the institution as a central bank governor,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States will not permit Iran’s increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system.”

The new sanctions cut off Iran’s access to a “critical banking network,” the Treasury Department said in a statement, adding that it seeks to “stifle Iran’s ability to abuse the U.S. and regional financial system.”

The action against Seif does not sanction the Central Bank of Iran, though the bank is targeted under sanctions President Donald Trump reinstated when he withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

By Nov. 5, sanctions will be re-imposed on those engaging with “certain significant transactions” with Iran’s central bank.

The U.S. sanctioned nine Iranian citizens and companies on Thursday for allegedly operating a currency exchange network that -- with the help of Iran’s central bank -- transferred millions of U.S. dollars on behalf of the Quds force.

The action comes a week after Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions that were in place before the 2015 agreement.

Seif is also under attack inside Iran. Half of Iran’s lawmakers have written to President Hassan Rouhani demanding the removal of the central bank chief, accusing him of mismanaging the banking industry and currency markets as the rial weakened.

Source: Bloomberg