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Stopping the Iranian Regime’s Terrorism Funding Demands Determination

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In a recent development, the al-Forat News Agency unveiled a document dated January 21, shedding light on efforts to impede the financial channels supporting terrorism linked to the Iranian regime. The document, authored by Ammar Hamid Khalaf, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, was directed towards the Bank-e-Melli [National Bank] of Iran. Khalaf underscored that due to operational losses, constrained activities, and the impracticability of expansion, the license permitting the Central Bank of Iran’s operations in Iraq has been rescinded.

The document underscores the infeasibility of the bank’s continued presence in Iraq, compounded by its status as a target of international sanctions. While this action marks a significant setback to the regime’s attempts to bypass international sanctions and finance its militias, its effectiveness remains limited. However, there are indications that the United States is gradually awakening to the magnitude of the threat it has previously ignored.

Brian Nelson, the Deputy Treasury Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, traveled to Iraq on January 28 to address concerns regarding the circumvention of U.S. sanctions. Notably, American authorities alerted the Iraqi government to the nation’s inadvertent role as a conduit for dollar smuggling to Tehran.

Reuters reported on February 4 that Iraq has implemented a ban on eight local commercial banks from conducting transactions in U.S. dollars. Following a recent visit by a senior U.S. Treasury official, this action comes as part of Iraq’s efforts to combat fraud, money laundering, and other illicit activities involving U.S. currency.

In response, the Iranian regime has sought to mitigate the financial restrictions coming from Baghdad. Mohsen Chamanara, a member of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, dismissed the significance of the National Bank’s license revocation, asserting that commercial transactions between the two nations continue unabated. Chamanara claimed, “The Central Bank of Iran does not have any particular influence on the activities of Iraqi merchants that would now disrupt them with the news of license revocation.”

However, the prompt visit of the regime’s Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council to Iraq introduces alternative interpretations. The recent missile strike by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iraq has prompted concerns about Iraq’s alignment with the United States, leading to strong reactions from Baghdad and even appeal to the United Nations Security Council.

Concurrently, alongside a delegation from the US Treasury, Iranian state media reported Ali Akbar Ahmadian’s visit, where he engaged with Qasim al-Araji, Iraq’s national security advisor, and Mohammad Shiaa al-Sudani, the country’s Prime Minister.

According to a report by the state-run Tabnak, citing an anonymous source in Iraq’s National Security Advisor’s office, “the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council discussed several joint security issues during his recent visit. These discussions included completing the security agreement between Baghdad and Tehran, particularly regarding the extradition of individuals from Kurdish opposition groups sought by Iran.”

While the Iranian regime feels the tightening pressure of international isolation, its persistence in hostility and bellicosity in the region is the result of the delayed response to this situation.

In recent months, the US government has attempted to restrict Iran’s access to dollars through Iraq. On July 14, the US even prohibited banks in Iraq from engaging in transactions with Iran. However, Washington’s disregard towards Iran’s circumvention of sanctions through oil and other commodity sales, as well as the release of $10 billion in blocked funds in Iraq in July, or providing sanction waivers for Baghdad to purchase electricity from Iran, conveyed conflicting messages and paved the way for facilitating financial support for terrorism once more.

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For years, the Iranian Resistance had warned against the regime’s infiltration into Iraq and its evasion of sanctions by regional mercenaries. On January 26, 2007, the National Council of Resistance of Iran held three major simultaneous press conferences in Paris, London, and Berlin, revealing a comprehensive dossier exposing the IRGC network, including the names and details of 32,000 agents of the clerical regime in Iraq and alarming information about the Quds Force’s efforts to send weapons and ammunition to Iraq.

Representatives and leaders of major political parties and organizations in Iraq at the time also attended these conferences, confirming the accuracy of the disclosures made by the NCRI.

During these conferences, details regarding the organizational charts and diagrams of the IRGC’s Quds Force, along with information regarding the budget and payment methods for the regime’s mercenaries’ salaries were disclosed.

Should the international community genuinely aspire to tackle the matter of international terrorism financing perpetrated by the Iranian regime, it is imperative to embrace a resolute and steadfast policy devoid of overlooking Tehran’s destructive activities or granting concessions to it.