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United States adds head of Iran's central bank to terrorist list, imposes sanctions

16 May 2018, 02:56 | Melvin Schneider

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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.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday Seif covertly moved millions of dollars on behalf of the IRGC through Al-Bilad bank "to enrich and support the violent and radical agenda of Hezbollah".

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Tuesday on Iran's central bank governor and another senior official in the bank for providing support for terrorist activities. "Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions, and we call on the IRGC and its militant proxies, including Hezbollah, to take no further provocative steps".

Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Iranian central financial institution, was named a "specifically designated global terrorist" together with one other senior official, Ali Tarzali, who works within the central financial institution's worldwide division.

"The United States will not permit Iran's increasingly brazen abuse of the worldwide financial system", Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump offers hope for peace in recorded remarks at US Embassy opening in Jerusalem The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - Trump makes history with foreign policy decisions The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by FICO - Paul Ryan's rough ride MORE said in a statement.

The moves come as Trump's administration, after deeming the 2015 nuclear deal insufficiently tough on Iran, seeks to construct a global coalition to place enough pressure on Tehran that it comes back to the negotiating table to strike a "better deal".

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The sanctions against Seif and Tarzali do not, however, extend to the Central Bank of Iran.

The exact ramifications of the sanctions for Iran's economy were not immediately clear.

At the time, the USA singled out the Central Bank of Iran as "complicit" in the operation, foreshadowing Tuesday's action. The Iraqi bank and its chairman also are being punished with sanctions.

With this, the Treasury Department is trying to clamp down on Iran's ability "to abuse the USA and regional financial systems".

Hezbollah fought a war with Israel in 2006, and Israeli officials have been deeply concerned about the prospect of another confrontation.



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