The move was an attempt to restore the people’s confidence in the government after the economic troubles and the dramatic drop in the value of the Rial, the country’s official currency.
However, the people of Iran will never be able to trust the current leadership ever again. They are fully aware that corruption is rife in the country; it is found at all levels of leadership. Former chief Seif was corrupt and has been involved with money laundering and sanction evasion in the past.
Ironically, or perhaps typically, he has been replaced by another person that has a history of corruption. Hemmati has an extensive history of going against U.S. sanctions as well as money laundering.
The Central Bank of Iran has a mammoth task after decades of corruption.
But the institution itself has to deal with certain constraints on top of this. Former chief Seif was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this year along with members of his staff because of their role in money laundering.
Seif was using an Iraqi bank to launder money to the Quds Force, the special overseas branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and to the Lebanese Hezbollah. Both entities have been designated as terrorist organisations.
Back in 2012, the Central Bank of Iran was sanctioned by the Obama administration for circumventing sanctions. Obama alluded to Iran’s refusal to comply with its anti-money laundering regulations and highlighted that the Iranian regime is a risk in terms of the international financial system.
The fact that Hemmati has been brought in to help restore the public’s faith in the system is laughable.
For a decade he was the chief of two banks that have been sanctioned by the European Union and the United States for supporting the Quds Force and for its role in facilitating the proliferation of weapons. He is also on the board of the Future Bank that was sanctioned by the United States in 2008.
He was also personally sanctioned for his role at the Sina Bank in 2011. He was in charge of the bank that was evading sanctions.
Now that the Trump administration has announced that from the 5th November onwards, transactions being carried out through the Central Bank will be sanctioned, Hemmati’s role will no doubt be to circumvent the transactions – something that he has had plenty of experience doing.
However, hopefully the United States, and the European Union for that matter, will realise that Hemmati is not the reformer that the Iranian regime is trying to make out that he is.
Widespread corruption in Iran has destroyed the economy and the people want regime change because they know that this is the only way they will ever have a chance at freedom, democracy, equality and human rights.