An Iranian currency exchange network has been sanctioned by the US Treasury. The move, reportedly with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), comes days after President Donald Trump quit the multi-power 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The US Treasury on Thursday said it had sanctioned six individuals and three entities accused of funneling "hundreds of millions" of dollars to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's elite Al Quds Force (IRGC-QF).
In Washington, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin accused "the Iranian regime and its Central Bank" of misusing banking access in the UAE to acquire US dollars to fund the IRGC-QF's "malign activities, and to arm its "regional proxy groups."
They had concealed the acquisition of funds and transfers, Mnuchin asserted, adding that the treasury was acting with the UAE.
"We are intent on cutting off IRGC revenue streams wherever their source and whatever their destination," Mnuchin added.
The Treasury also accused Iran's central bank of being "complicit" in supplying the IRGC.
The new sanctions also ban US individuals and entities from doing business with the currency network.
'Proxy' groups in Lebanon and Syria
According to Washington, the Revolutionary Guard backs terrorist groups and militias affiliated with Iran, including in Lebanon and Syria where missile warfare involving Israel and, apparently, the Al Quds Force unfolded on Thursday.
In February 2015, the news agency Reuters reported that at least $1 billion (€840 million) in cash had been smuggled into Iran despite US and other sanctions.
In that case, the cash passed through money changers and front companies in Dubai, in the UAE, and Iraq, Reuters reported at the time, citing sources.
The nuclear accord involving major world powers, including Germany, was reached in 2015, allowing rigorous inspections of Iran's sensitive nuclear sites by the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA).
Hundreds of inspections were made inside Iran by the United Nation's IAEA nuclear watchdog agency.
ipj/kms (AFP, Reuters)