US sanctions 9 Iranians, entities over currency exchange network

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Washington, May 11 (IANS) US Department of the Treasury said on Thursday that it has imposed sanctions against nine Iranian individuals and entities it accused of transferring millions of dollars to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force.

The decision came on the heels of US President Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the historic Iran nuclear deal, Xinhua reported.

The Treasury said that it was working with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to “disrupt an extensive currency exchange network in Iran and the UAE that has procured and transferred millions in US dollar-denominated bulk cash to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to fund its malign activities and regional proxy groups.”

Iran’s Central Bank “was complicit in the IRGC-QF’s scheme and actively supported this network’s currency conversion and enabled its access to funds that it held in its foreign bank accounts,” the Treasury said in a statement.

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Iran has “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,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.

As a result of these actions, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

In addition, foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate significant transactions for, or persons that provide material or certain other support to, the individuals and entities designated on Thursday risk exposure to sanctions that could sever their access to the US financial system or block their property and interests in property under US jurisdiction, said the Treasury.

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It added that due to Trump’s decision to cease the US participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), “as of August 7, 2018, the United States Government will re-impose sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by the Government of Iran.”

Trump’s move on Tuesday has sparked global outcry for its potential undermining of the multilateral treaty and the unilateral imposition of long-arm jurisdiction that would cost other nations’ economic interests.

–IANS

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