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US sanctions Iran's central bank governor

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the governor and another senior official of Iran's central bank for funneling millions of dollars from the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force to the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

The Treasury Department said Valiollah Seif, governor of BANK MARKAZI JOMHOURI ISLAMI IRAN, and Ali Tarzali, the assistant director of the bank's international department, helped and provided financial or other services to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force, or IRGC-QF.

"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 Steven Mnuchin said.

The department also sanctioned Iraq-based Al-Bilad Islamic Bank and its chairman and chief executive, Aras Habib, for acting as a conduit for the funds transferred from Tehran to Hezbollah.

In addition, the new sanctions targeted Muhammad Qasir, a Hezbollah official working with the IRGC-QF, for acting as a "critical" conduit for the financial disbursements, the Treasury said.

The Treasury's latest action followed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reinstate sanctions on Tehran. It previously imposed sanctions on nine Iranian individuals and alleged front companies that supposedly funded the IRGC-QF.