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U.S. hits head of Iran's central bank with terror sanctions

U.S. hits head of Iran's central bank with terror sanctions

The US Treasury has sanctioned six individuals, including Valiollah Seif, the head of Iran's central bank, over alleged ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Hezbollah movement, which Washington considers to be a terrorist group.

The Trump administration announced new sanctions Tuesday on leaders at Iran's central bank and an Iraq bank chairman who are accused of illegally funneling millions of dollars to an Islamic militant group.

The new sanctions are part of the administration's efforts to address Tehran's "malign influence" in the region, an effort that, in conjunction with President Donald Trump's decision to remove the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and Monday's controversial opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem, has led to a spike in tensions across the Middle East.

The strikes come as Trump's administration, after deeming the 2015 nuclear deal insufficiently robust on Iran, seeks to assemble a worldwide coalition to put sufficient strain on Tehran that it comes again to the negotiating desk to strike a "higher deal".

This is already the second batch of US' anti-Iranian sanctions since Trump's announcement on the pullout from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA).




"The US won't allow Iran's more and more brazen abuse of the worldwide monetary system", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin mentioned. That signifies that anybody, in any nation, who does enterprise with Seif or Tarzali might themselves be punished with sanctions, reducing them off from the USA monetary system.

It's unclear whether that will be workable as Trump has vowed to punish European companies that continue doing business with Iran despite reimposed US sanctions. Still, the USA said it was imposing "secondary sanctions" on the Iranian bank officials, which could significantly increase Iran's isolation from the global financial system. 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. Those funds were then used to "enrich and support the violent and radical agenda of "Hezbollah", Treasury said.

At the time, the United States singled out the Central Bank of Iran as "complicit" in the operation, foreshadowing Tuesday's action.

It also blacklisted Ali Tarzali, assistant director of the global department of Iran's central bank, and chairman of Al-Bilad Islamic Bank, Aras Habib. Most lately, the US has been involved concerning the position that Hezbollah fighters are taking part in in Syria to assist prop up President Bashar Assad.


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