US: Iran’s top banker is a ter­ror­ist

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS -

WASH­ING­TON (JTA) – The US Trea­sury des­ig­nates Iran’s top banker a ter­ror­ist for his role in fun­nel­ing money to Hezbol­lah.

“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 Hezbol­lah, and it un­der­mines any cred­i­bil­ity he could claim in pro­tect­ing the in­tegrity of the in­sti­tu­tion as a cen­tral bank gov­er­nor,” Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin said on Tues­day.

IRGC-QF stands for Iran Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Quds Force, the Guards’ armed force abroad.

The des­ig­na­tion as ter­ror­ists of Vali­ol­lah Seif, the bank’s gov­er­nor, and Ali Tarzali, the as­sis­tant direc­tor of the bank’s in­ter­na­tional depart­ment, comes a week af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­in­stated sanc­tions on the bank it­self as part of his with­drawal from the Iran nu­clear deal.

The US sanc­tions Trump re­in­stated last week tar­get third-party en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing in­di­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ments, that deal with Iran’s Cen­tral Bank. The threat of reim­po­si­tion of sanc­tions al­ready has prompted an­gry re­join­ders from gov­ern­ments the US is oth­er­wise al­lied with and that con­tinue to abide by the nu­clear deal, among them Bri­tain, France and Ger­many. Trump wants these coun­tries to join him in sanc­tion­ing Iran to ex­tract a bet­ter deal to end its nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

Trump wants any re­place­ment deal to ad­dress, among other things, Iran’s mis­sile pro­gram and its ag­gres­sion in the re­gion.

Ban­ning deal­ings with the bank’s top per­son­nel may be seen as a way to in­crease pres­sure on the US al­lies to play ball.

Also named as ter­ror­ists in the Trea­sury re­lease are Aras Habib, the chair­man of Al-Bi­lad Is­lamic Bank in Iraq; and Muham­mad Qasir, a Hezbol­lah of­fi­cial, both for their role in fun­nel­ing IRGC money to Hezbol­lah.

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