US sanctions Iranian central bank governor for ‘appalling’ support of Hezbollah and terror groups

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accuses Iran’s central bank governor of assisting in funnelling millions of US dollars on behalf of the Quds Force to support Hezbollah

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 1:11am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 5:49am

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

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against Valiollah Seif, Iran’s central bank governor, and Ali Tarzali, the assistant director of the international department at the central bank of Iran. 

They were named “specially designated global terrorists” for allegedly assisting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force to support Hezbollah.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused Seif of assisting in funnelling millions of US 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 Hezbollah, and it undermines any credibility he could claim in protecting the integrity of the institution as a central bank governor,” Mnuchin said in a statement.

“The United States will not permit Iran’s increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system.”

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The US 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 US dollars on behalf of the Quds Force.

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

Beginning August 7, the US will impose sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by Iran’s government, the US Treasury Department said.

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Seif is also under attack inside Iran. 

Half of Iran’s lawmakers have written to President Hassan Rowhani demanding the removal of the central bank chief, accusing him of mismanaging the banking industry and currency markets as the rial weakened.