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US sanctions counterfeiting 'network forging money for Iran'

The sanctions targeted four companies and two individuals involving in printing counterfeit Yemeni currency. [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 November, 2017

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The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a network of companies and individuals accused of counterfeiting money to help Iran's Revolutionary Guards, officials said.

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on a network of companies and individuals accused of counterfeiting money to help Iran's Revolutionary Guards, officials said.

The sanctions targeted four companies and two individuals involved in printing counterfeit Yemeni currency to benefit Iran, including Reza Heidari, an Iranian national, and Mahmoud Seif, whose nationality was not given, a statement said.

The pair are accused of using the companies - ForEnt Technik and Printing Trading Center in Frankfurt, and Rayan Printing and Tejarat Almas Mobin Holding in Tehran – to evade European export restrictions while procuring equipment to print fake Yemeni currency worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the US Treasury said.

The operations benefitted the Revolutionary Guards' external operations arm, which has been subject to US sanctions since 2007.

"This scheme exposes the deep levels of deception the IRGC-Qods Force is willing to employ against companies in Europe, governments in the Gulf, and the rest of the world to support its destabilizing activities," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

"Counterfeiting strikes at the heart of the international financial system, and the fact that elements of the government of Iran are involved in this behaviour is completely unacceptable."

The sanctions will freeze the companies and individuals out of much of the global banking system and bar financial institutions subject to US law from engaging in business with them.

The landmark nuclear deal signed in 2015 agreed to exempt Iran from sanctions related to its nuclear program but Washington has pursued aggressive sanctions unrelated to it.

The latest sanctions come two months after the US slapped sanctions on companies and individuals accused of carrying out cyber-attacks against US banks or in support of the Revolutionary Guards.

The administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama imposed sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards as far back as 2007.

US President Donald Trump unveiled an aggressive new strategy towards Iran last month, announcing he would not re-certify the landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

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