US hits Iran central bank governor with sanctions
Washington (AFP) –
The United States slapped sanctions Tuesday on Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, accusing him of helping the country's Revolutionary Guard Corps transfer millions of dollars to Lebanon's Hezbollah.
In the second move in a week taking aim at the money networks of the Revolutionary Guards, or IRGC, the US Treasury also blacklisted a second central bank official, Iraq's Al-Bilad Islamic Bank and its top two executives, and a liaison between IRGC and Hezbollah, which Washington has designated an international terrorist group.
The Treasury said Seif covertly moved "hundreds of millions of dollars" to Hezbollah from IRGC via Al-Bilad Islamic Bank.
Tuesday's action seeks to cut off what the US called a "critical" banking network for Iran, and deny those blacklisted access to the global financial system.
"The United States will not permit Iran's increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system," said US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"The global community must remain vigilant against Iran's deceptive efforts to provide financial support to its terrorist proxies."
On Thursday, the Treasury announced sanctions against a "large scale" currency exchange network serving the Revolutionary Guards, hitting six individuals and three companies at the center of the network.
At the time, the US singled out the Central Bank of Iran as "complicit" in the operation, foreshadowing Tuesday's action.
The move against Seif came one week after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord and signalled plans to ratchet up pressure on the Iranian economy, and especially on the economic power of the Revolutionary Guards.
© 2018 AFP