Stringent US Moves against Money Flows from Iraq to Iran

A currency exchange shop in central Baghdad (AP)
A currency exchange shop in central Baghdad (AP)
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Stringent US Moves against Money Flows from Iraq to Iran

A currency exchange shop in central Baghdad (AP)
A currency exchange shop in central Baghdad (AP)

The decline in the value of Iraq’s national currency and the rise in the prices of foodstuffs and imported goods can be traced back to remarkable change in the policy adopted by the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Both bodies have had a policy shift to curb money laundering and the illegal appropriation of dollars by Iraqi commercial banks for the benefit of Iran and other countries subject to sanctions in the Middle East.

The New York Fed began enforcing tighter controls on international dollar transactions by commercial Iraqi banks in November in a move to curtail money laundering and the illegal siphoning of dollars to Iran and other heavily sanctioned Middle East countries, US and Iraqi officials said according to the Wall Street Journal.

Iraqi banks had operated under less stringent rules since shortly after the 2003 US invasion.

It is time for Iraq’s banking system to comply with global money-transfer practices, the officials added.

Since the procedures went into effect, 80% or more of Iraq’s daily dollar wire transfers, which previously totaled over $250 million some days, have been blocked because of insufficient information about the funds’ destinations or other errors, according to US and Iraqi officials and official Iraqi government data.

Under the new procedures, Iraqi banks must submit dollar transfers on a new online platform with the central bank, which are then reviewed by the Fed.

The system is aimed at curtailing use of Iraq’s banking system to smuggle dollars to Tehran, Damascus and money laundering havens across the Middle East, US officials said.

Another US official said the measures would limit “the ability of malign actors to use the Iraqi banking system.”

US officials have pressed Iraq for years to strengthen its banking controls. In 2015, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department temporarily shut off the flow of billions of dollars to Iraq’s central bank over concerns that the currency was ending up at Iranian banks and possibly being funneled to ISIS militants, officials said at the time.



Plane Crash Near Ohio Airport Kills 3

A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
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Plane Crash Near Ohio Airport Kills 3

A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
A view of an exterior of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Illinois, September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young

A plane trying to make an emergency landing at an airport in northeastern Ohio crashed, killing all three people aboard, authorities said.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday that the twin-engine Beechcraft 60 went down near the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Ohio at about 6:45 p.m. Friday.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol post in Trumbull County, which was notified shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, said the crash just north of the airport killed the pilot and two passengers. The families of the victims have been notified and names are to be released later, an official said.
Anthony Trevena, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, told WKBN-TV that the crash came after an airplane not associated with the air reserve station at the airport came in for an unscheduled emergency landing. A mechanical failure is suspected, the station reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate, the FAA said in a statement.