President Trump turns the sanctions screw on Iran

President Trump turns the sanctions screw on Iran

It has been estimated that despite sanctions in place prior to the deal, at least $1bn in cash was smuggled into Iran through front companies in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.

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.

Trump told his supporters at a rally in the state of in on Thursday that the U.S. can not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

Mnuchin accused "the Iranian regime and its Central Bank" of misusing banking access in the UAE to acquire U.S. dollars to fund the IRGC-QF's "malign activities, and to arm its "regional proxy groups".

It also accused Iran's central bank of helping the group - the Quds Force - access USA dollars held in foreign banks to sidestep Western sanctions.

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.

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He said the Iranian regime and its Central Bank have abused access to entities in the UAE to acquire U.S. dollars to fund Iran's elite military force, the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The crackdown comes 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.

Beginning Aug. 7, the USA will impose sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by Iran's government, the Treasury Department said.

The agreement was made by Iran and the USA, the UK, Russia, France, China, Germany and the European Union to ensure Iran's nuclear programme was "exclusively peaceful".

Britain, Germany and France have urged the United States not to take steps that would make life harder for other countries that still want to stick to the Iran nuclear deal.

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