The new sanctions target Iranian, Syrian, and Iraqi nationals, including "the governor and a senior official of the Central Bank of Iran, an Iraq-based bank and its chairman, and a key [Hezbollah] official", who stand accused of moving "millions of dollars on behalf of the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force] and [Hezbollah]".
"Iran's Central Bank Governor covertly funneled millions of dollars on behalf of the IRGC-QF through Iraq-based al-Bilad Islamic Bank to enrich and support the violent and radical agenda of Hizballah", a statement from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.
The Trump administration is designating the head of Iran's central bank as a terrorist and hitting him with sanctions meant to further isolate Iran from the global financial system.
The Treasury Department said it had imposed sanctions on Valiollah Seif, the bank's current governor, and another senior official, Ali Tarzali, the assistant director of the bank's worldwide department, labeling them both as "specially designated global terrorists".
All of the sanctioned individuals were designated as global terrorists. "The United States will not permit Iran's increasingly brazen abuse of the global financial system".
In the second move in a week taking aim at the money networks of the Revolutionary Guards, or IRGC, the US Treasury also blacklisted another senior official, Ali Tarzali, who works in the central bank's worldwide division.
The moves come as Trump's administration, after deeming the 2015 nuclear deal insufficiently tough on Iran, seeks to construct a global coalition to place enough pressure on Tehran that it comes back to the negotiating table to strike a "better deal". According to the Treasury, the anti-Iran sanctions cuts off Tehran's use of critical banking network. "The worldwide neighborhood should stay vigilant towards Iran's misleading efforts to supply monetary help to its terrorist proxies".
The department noted that sanctions did not extend to Iran's central bank but would affect certain transactions by Iran, including those involving United States dollars. He argued it failed to address Iran's activities beyond its nuclear pursuits, such as its support for groups like Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.
Seif is also under attack inside Iran. Most recently, the USA has been concerned about the role that Hezbollah fighters are playing in Syria to help prop up President Bashar al-Assad.