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Iran blocks over 700 bank accounts over illegal forex trade

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s intelligence ministry blocks hundres of bank accounts used to launder illicit proceeds from forex trade.

Iran’s intelligence ministry has identified and blocked more than 700 bank accounts that it believes have been used to launder massive proceeds obtained from illegal trading of foreign currencies.

The ministry said in a Tuesday statement that its anti-smuggling department had coordinated the freezing of the accounts with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

“The turnover of some of these accounts had amounted to 200 trillion rials (over $645 million) in the past nine months,” said the statement.

It added that a list of account holders had been submitted to the Iranian judiciary for prosecution.

The statement comes following a fresh surge in the price of foreign currencies in Iran which government authorities believe is purely due to speculative trading. 

CBI officials have insisted the rise in prices in recent days have had nothing to do with the country’s actual state of forex reserves.

Traders in the market say prices started to go up last week after a renewed round of talks between Iran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal broke off in Austria’s capital Vienna.

The rial regained parts of the losses suffered over the weekend as it closed 310,000 against the US dollar on Tuesday, according to currency monitoring websites and reports by local news outlets.

The national currency has yet to hit record lows seen in October last year when Iran’s economy was feeling the double economic pressure of the US sanctions and the spread of the coronavirus.

The intelligence ministry said it will continue to constantly monitor suspicious bank accounts held by people involved in forex trade

Its statement said that more bank account related to illicit forex trade will be blocked in the upcoming days.

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