U.S. sanctions Iran Central Bank's governor and another official

 15 May 2018 - 18:17

U.S. sanctions Iran Central Bank's governor and another official

Saleha Mohsin | Bloomberg

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions Tuesday on Iran’s central bank governor and another senior official in the bank.

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

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused Seif of assisting in funneling millions of dollars on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-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 Hizballah, 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.”

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.

The action comes a week after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimposing sanctions that were in place before the 2015 agreement. Beginning Aug. 7, the U.S. will impose sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of U.S. dollar banknotes by Iran’s government, the Treasury Department said.

Seif is also under attack inside Iran. 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.