Six Middle Eastern countries have joined the U.S. in sanctioning an Iranian financial network linked to the Iranian military and Hezbollah, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Wednesday.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. are all part of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), “a collaborative approach to confronting new and evolving threats arising from terrorist financing,” according to the Treasury Department.
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Mnuchin said in a Wednesday statement that he is meeting with officials “from across the region” during his tour of the Middle East to “bolster the fight against terrorist financing” through the TFTC, which was created in May 2017.
“It is a bold effort to expand and strengthen the cooperation amongst seven countries … to counter the financing of terrorism. The TFTC coordinates disruptive actions, shares financial intelligence information, and builds member state capacity to target activities posing national security threats to TFTC members,” Mnuchin continued.
U.S. officials view the collaboration as crucial to continue President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, the fifth largest oil producer in the world, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Mnuchin said the TFTC’s sanctions against Iran’s financial networks used to “fund terrorism” demonstrates unity among Gulf countries and the U.S., adding that “Iran will not be allowed to escalate its malign activity in the region.”
“We are proud to join forces with our TFTC partners to expose and condemn the Iranian regime’s gross and repeated violations of international norms, from attacking critical oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia to fomenting strife in neighboring countries through regional proxies such as Hizballah,” he continued.
“This coordinated action is a concrete step towards denying the Iranian regime the ability to undermine the stability of the region,” the treasury secretary concluded.
The Iranian financial network in question has a history of providing financial support to a paramilitary group that “recruits, trains, and deploys child soldiers to fight in [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp]-fueled conflicts across the region,” among other “malign activities,” according to an October 2018 Treasury Department press release.
The U.S. has been consistent in its sanctions against Iran since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, citing the country’s “military-industrial complex” during a May 2018 interview with Fox News’s Steve Hilton.
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