Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

US Imposes Sanctions on Iran Central Bank Governor over Terror Links

US Imposes Sanctions on Iran Central Bank Governor over Terror Links

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.

Al-Bilad Islamic Bank and its CEO and chairman, Aras Habib, were also hit with USA sanctions, as was Muhammad Qasir, who the Treasury said is a "Hezbollah" official who has been a "critical conduit" for transferring funds to "Hezbollah" from the Revolutionary Guards. OFAC considers these individuals and entities as either terrorist actors or supporters of terrorism, categorizing them as specially designated global terrorists (SDGTs).

It also blacklisted Ali Tarzali, assistant director of the global department of Iran's central bank, and chairman of Al-Bilad Islamic Bank, Aras Habib.

The sanctions include freezing their assets in the US and prohibiting USA companies from doing business with them.

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Since leaving the deal, the Trump administration's plan has been to reimpose the sanctions lifted under the deal while also imposing secondary sanctions against countries that choose to trade with Iran.

Tuesday's action seeks to cut off what the United States called a "critical" banking network for Iran, and deny those blacklisted access to the global financial system.

Iran says new sanctions imposed on it by Washington are an attempt to derail efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal by its remaining signatories following the U.S. withdrawal from the accord.

"The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror".

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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. USA officials were reaching out Tuesday to central banks in other countries in the Middle East and Europe to inform them of the sanctions and encourage them to immediately freeze assets the bank has overseas. Any transactions that involve his signature could potentially run afoul of the sanctions, creating a strong disincentive for governments or businesses considering deals involving Iran's central bank.

Lebanon's Hezbollah, the highly effective Shiite guerrilla power that can also be a outstanding political participant in Lebanon, has lengthy helped perform Iran's global coverage targets within the Arabic-speaking world.

Putting a central bank governor on the list of terrorists because of banking activities is all but unheard of.

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