USA imposes sanctions against governor of Iran's Central Bank

ImageValiollah Seif the governor of Iran's central bank at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C.

ImageValiollah Seif the governor of Iran's central bank at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C.

In the second move in a week taking aim at the money networks of the Revolutionary Guards, or IRGC, the US Treasury also blacklisted a second central bank official, Iraq's Al-Bilad Islamic Bank and its top two executives, and a liaison between IRGC and Hezbollah, which Washington has designated an global terrorist group.

The US sanctioned nine Iranian citizens and companies on Thursday for allegedly operating a currency exchange network that - with the help of Iran's central bank - transferred millions of US dollars on behalf of the Quds Force. They are the defense against military coups or "deviant movements" against the government.

The sanctions against Seif and Tarzali do not, however, extend to the Central Bank of Iran.

The U.S. Treasury Department also issued economic sanctions against another top official, in addition to Seif.

Also sanctioned Monday are an Iraqi bank, its chairman, and Ali Tarzali, who Treasury said is "the assistant director of the International Department at the Central Bank of Iran". The sanctions targeting Iran's central bank executives are some of the first actions by Trump's administration since pulling out of the deal to start ramping up that economic pressure.

"The United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal", Trump said, calling the deal "defective at its core" and a "disastrous deal" that gave the Iranian "regime of great terror" billions of dollars. "No action taken by the regime has been more risky than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them", the President added.

President Trump has always been critical of the Obama-era agreement, calling it an "embarrassment" and "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into".

The strikes come as Trump's administration, after deeming the 2015 nuclear deal insufficiently robust on Iran, seeks to assemble a worldwide coalition to put sufficient strain on Tehran that it comes again to the negotiating desk to strike a "higher deal".

US President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria April 13, 2018, at the White House in Washington, DC.

Seif, a profession banker, grew to become the pinnacle of Iran's Central Financial institution in 2013 underneath President Hassan Rouhani, who shepherded the nuclear deal. "Our response will be stronger than what they imagine and they would see that within a week", he had said. Within the aftermath of the 2015 worldwide nuclear accord, through which nuclear sanctions on Iran had been lifted, Seid was a outstanding voice complaining that Iran was nonetheless being saved out of the worldwide monetary system and never receiving the financial advantages it was promised in change for curbing its nuclear program. Iran insists its efforts have been for research and technology, and that its missiles are purely defensive.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday Seif covertly moved millions of dollars on behalf of the IRGC through Al-Bilad bank "to enrich and support the violent and radical agenda of Hezbollah".