U.S. sanctions financial leaders in Iran, Iraq over Hezbollah funds

By Sommer Brokaw  |  May 15, 2018 at 2:32 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

May 15 (UPI) -- 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 Treasury issued the sanctions against Central Bank governor Valiollah Seif and assistant director Ali Tarzali. Officials said they diverted millions on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force to the Shi'a militant group Hezbollah.

Iraq-based Al Bilad Islamic bank was also sanctioned, with Chairman Aras Habib for similarly sponsoring the IRGC-QF

The Treasury labeled the sanctioned individuals under a list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists" via a presidential order that targets terrorists.

The U.S. State Department designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 1997 and a specially designated global terrorist four years later.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Seif "covertly funneled millions of dollars" to support Hezbollah's "violent and radical agenda."

"The United States will not permit Iran's increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system," Mnuchin said in a statement Tuesday. "The global community must remain vigilant against Iran's deceptive efforts to provide financial support to its terrorist proxies."

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

Due to President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, certain sanctions may be re-imposed. Trump had roundly criticized the deal, which exchanges the lifting of U.S. sanctions for Tehran closing its nuclear program.

The Treasury also said reimposed sanctions this summer will target certain transactions with Iran's central bank -- and more in November will hit "persons knowingly engaging in certain transactions with the Central Bank of Iran."

Tuesday's penalties came days after the United States and United Arab Emirates announced joint sanctions against entities accused of funding "malign activities" by the IRGC-QF.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories