September 18, 2018 | The Hill

Iran hires financial arsonist to fight its financial fires

An excerpt from the op-ed follows:

With its economy reeling and its currency in free fall, Iran hired a new central banker in August to restore public confidence. President Hasan Rouhani appointed Abdolnaser Hemmati to replace Valiollah Seif as the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Hemmati has a long history of laundering money and violating U.S. sanctions, just as Seif did. Neither the United States nor European governments should be fooled into believingthat Hemmati is any sort of reformer.

The CBI has a Herculean task before it, with decades of corruption and mismanagement weighing down the economy. But the bank itself is reeling, too. The Treasury Department in May sanctioned both Seif, the outgoing CBI chief, and his staff for their roles in laundering money through an Iraqi bank to Tehran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah and the IRGC Quds Force. Washington has previously designated both Hezbollah and the Quds Force as terrorist organizations.

There is a long history of criminal behavior at the central bank. The Obama administration sanctioned the CBI itself in 2012 for facilitating transactions with smaller banks to circumvent previous global sanctions. An executive order by President Obama justified the move by noting “the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks to conceal transactions of sanctioned parties, the deficiencies in Iran's anti-money laundering regime and the weaknesses in its implementation, and the continuing and unacceptable risk posed to the international financial system.

Read the full article here.

Tyler Stapleton is deputy director for congressional relations at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Saeed Ghasseminejad is a research fellowFollow Tyler @Ty_D_Stapleton and Saeed @SGhasseminejad on Twitter. 

Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.