US sanctions head of Iran's central bank

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. on Tuesday sanctioned the head of Iran's central bank and another senior bank official, claiming they have been key to funneling money to the external operations unit of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese Hezbollah.

Valiollah Seif was blacklisted by the Treasury Department for allegedly moving "millions of dollars through the international financial system" in support of the IRGC's Quds Force (IRGC-QF).

“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," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, using an alternate spelling for Hezbollah.

Also sanctioned Monday are an Iraqi bank, its chairman, and Ali Tarzali, who Treasury said is "the assistant director of the International Department at the Central Bank of Iran".

Despite Tarzali and Seif's designations, the Central Bank of Iran itself remains unsanctioned, according to the department.

It noted, however, that following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the international accord Iran struck with world powers in 2015, previously existing sanctions will be re-applied to "certain transactions" with Iran's Central Bank, including purchases or acquisition of U.S. dollars by the bank.

That will begin Aug. 7 followed by more robust sanctions on individuals who "knowingly" engage in certain "significant transactions" with the central bank starting Nov. 5.

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