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U.S. Hits Iranian Central Bank Governor With Terror Sanctions

Valiollah Seif, governor of the Central Bank of Iran
Valiollah Seif, governor of the Central Bank of Iran

The United States has imposed sanctions on the governor of Iran's central bank, accusing him of providing support for terrorist activities.

The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on May 15 announced sanctions against Valiollah Seif and another senior official in the Central Bank of Iran, Ali Tarzali.

The two were named "specially designated global terrorists" for allegedly assisting in funneling millions of dollars on behalf of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to support Lebanon's Hizballah militia, the OFAC said in a statement.

"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.

"The United States will not permit Iran's increasingly brazen abuse of the international financial system," Mnuchin added.

The statement said the designations "do not extend" to the Central Bank of Iran.

The OFAC also blacklisted Al-Bilad Islamic Bank in Iraq and its chairman, Aras Habib, saying he helped the IRGC-QF to move funds from Tehran to Hizballah.

On May 10, the Treasury sanctioned nine Iranian individuals and entities for allegedly operating a currency-exchange network that transferred millions of dollars on behalf of the Quds Force.

The move comes a week after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States was pulling out of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Beginning on August 7, the United States will impose sanctions "on the purchase or acquisition of U.S. dollars banknotes by the government of Iran," the U.S. Treasury Department said.

And on November 5, additional sanctions will be reimposed on persons "knowingly engaging in certain significant transactions" with the central bank.