US sanctions hit Iran Revolutionary Guard currency network

US sanctions hit Iran Revolutionary Guard currency network

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury together with the United Arab Emirates announced action to disrupt an alleged “large scale” currency exchange network run by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

In the first such action since President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear accord on Tuesday, the Treasury announced sanctions against six Iranian individuals and three companies tied to the IRGC who were part of the network, which it said handled “hundreds of millions” of dollars in exchange transactions.

The Treasury also singled out Iran’s central bank as “complicit” in the IRGC operation, alleging the bank gave the operation access to funds held in offshore bank accounts.

“The Iranian regime and its Central Bank have abused access to entities in the UAE to acquire US dollars to fund the IRGC-QF’s malign activities, including to fund and arm its regional proxy groups, by concealing the purpose for which the US dollars were acquired,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“We are intent on cutting off IRGC revenue streams wherever their source and whatever their destination,” he said.

The individuals and companies included an alleged IRGC “front company” in Tehran, Jahan Aras Kish, and a Tehran money-changer, Rashed Exchange.

The US government made clear Tuesday when Trump announced the end of US participation in the JCPOA nuclear deal that going ahead, Washington was going to ramp up pressure on the IRGC and the Central Bank of Iran.

The new sanctions on the currency network ban US individuals and entities from doing business with them, aiming to lock them out of global dollar networks. – AFP