Several Iraqi officials and factions that are affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have started to grow concerned over their interests in wake of sanctions imposed by the United States against figures who are known for their close ties to Tehran.
The Iraqi central bank soon after froze the assets of these figures. In a memo Thursday, it warned parties against working with these four figures, citing the “international sanctions.”
Earlier this month, Washington imposed sanctions on the leader of the 30th Brigade in the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Waad Qado, leader of the 50th Brigade in the PMF, Rayan al-Kildani, and former governors Nawfal Hammadi al-Sultan and Ahmed al-Jubouri.
The US Treasury accused them of human rights violations and corruption.
An informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat that some pro-Iran figures have started to transfer their assets from Iraq to Iran to avoid expected American sanctions.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: “A sense of fear is gripping figures who are loyal to Iran and who have reaped massive wealth in Iraq in recent years.”
He explained that this wealth was gained through the extortion of Iraqi institutions. They also benefited from the smuggling of oil from the Nineveh and Basra provinces. The 30th and 50 brigades are stationed in Nineveh.
“Several of these officials now realize that they are American targets and they will be included in a new wave of sanctions. They believe that Iran is the only country where their funds can be safe from the US reach,” he continued.
Protests broke out in Nineveh on Friday in protest against the sanctions.
The government has yet to comment on Washington’s move, but a government official told Asharq Al-Awsat that authorities in Baghdad have formed a committee of experts to follow up on the sanctions.
The parliament also formed a committee for the same purpose, he revealed on condition of anonymity.