Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

US Sanctions Iran's Central Bank Governor, Alleges Hezbollah Ties

US Sanctions Iran's Central Bank Governor, Alleges Hezbollah Ties

Together the actions "seek to stifle Iran's ability to abuse the US and regional financial systems", according to Treasury.

"OFAC is designating Valiollah Seif, Iran's Central Bank Governor, for assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF", read a portion of the Treasury's statement on new sanctions.

"The United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal", Trump said, calling the deal "defective at its core" and a "disastrous deal" that gave the Iranian "regime of great terror" billions of dollars.

Historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provides for the removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials.

The head of the U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin accused Seif in providing financial assistance to Hezbollah, the United States recognized terrorist organization. These secondary sanctions affect individuals' ability to open or maintain a correspondent or a payable-through account in the United States.

Though the sanctions don't technically lengthen to the central financial institution itself, they might considerably improve Iran's isolation from the worldwide monetary system.

The U.S. said it would also sanction Seif; they are secondary sanctions, which means if someone does business with him, they could be cut off from the U.S. financial system, the Associated Press pointed out. The sanctions targeting Iran's central bank executives are some of the first actions by Trump's administration since pulling out of the deal to start ramping up that economic pressure.

The U.S. faced a May 12 deadline to decide whether or not to remain in the Iran nuclear deal. Most recently, the USA has been concerned about the role that Hezbollah fighters are playing in Syria to help prop up President Bashar Assad. Those funds were then used to "enrich and support the violent and radical agenda of Hezbollah", Treasury said.

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said Seif and Ali Tarzali, the assistant director of the global department at the central bank of Iran, would be sanctioned, Bloomberg reported.

Lebanon's Hezbollah, the powerful Shiite guerrilla force that is also a prominent political player in Lebanon, has long helped carry out Iran's foreign policy objectives in the Arabic-speaking world. Hezbollah fought a war with Israel in 2006, and Israeli officials have been deeply concerned about the prospect of another confrontation.

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