WASHINGTON, United States — 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 US 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.
Trump announced he was withdrawing the US from the accord with Iran on Tuesday, abruptly restoring harsh sanctions in the most consequential foreign policy action of his presidency. He declared he was making the world safer, but he also deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility with a rationale that contradicted the analyses of US and foreign intelligence sources.
The sanctions also came a day after IRGC forces fired some 20 rockets at Israeli military bases from southern Syria, sparking the largest ever direct clash between Jerusalem and Tehran, with Israeli jets targeting more than 50 Iranian military targets across Syria.