UAE and US break up network funnelling dollars to Iran
Iran’s central bank is accused of helping the Iranian Revolutionary Guards access US dollars
The UAE and US have disrupted a multi-million-dollar network that was allowing the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to access funds. The UAE listed nine individuals and entities on Thursday on its terrorism list.
The official news agency, WAM, reported that these people and groups were listed after they were found to have transferred millions of dollars to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The move reflects the UAE’s determination to disrupt all terror-related networks and the sponsors of terrorist activities.
It comes following close collaboration between the UAE and the United States, which has designated the same individuals and entities.
In Washington, the US Treasury imposed sanctions against the nine who it said had funnelled millions of dollars to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Qods Force, just days after president Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The Treasury department said it was acting with the United Arab Emirates to disrupt the network and accused Iran’s central bank of actively helping the group to access US dollars held in foreign bank.
“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,” Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin said in a statement.
He added “As I said following the president’s announcement on Tuesday, we are intent on cutting off IRGC revenue streams wherever their source and whatever their destination.”
Mr Mnuchin also lauded the UAE’s role, saying “the Treasury Department thanks the UAE for its close collaboration on this matter. Countries around the world must be vigilant against Iran’s efforts to exploit their financial institutions to exchange currency and fund the nefarious actors of the IRGC-QF and the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”
The six individuals and three entities were sanctioned under US regulations targeting specially designated global terrorist suspects and Iranian financial activity, the Treasury said.
The crackdown comes two days after Mr Trump withdrew from the 2015 arms accord and as US secretary of state Mike Pompeo pushes allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to pressure Iran to return to negotiations over its nuclear and missile programs.
The president’s decision has given grace periods of 90 days to six months for companies to wind down their trade with Iran.
In February 2015, Reuters reported that at least $1 billion in cash had been smuggled into Iran despite US and other sanctions.
The report said Iran’s central bank had worked with other entities, including sanctioned Iranian companies, to find ways to obtain US dollars, including using front companies and their networks. They said the central bank had given the orders to the front companies abroad to buy dollars.
Updated: May 10, 2018 11:54 PM