As U.S. sanctions made it harder for the Iranian government to directly fund regional violence and terror, the government used workarounds to supply money to terror groups such as Hezbollah in Syria. This graphic represents one of those illicit financial networks that the U.S. detected and sanctioned.

Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, carrying out attacks and other destabilizing activities through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC–QF). In May, the U.S. Treasury designated people and entities involved in a scheme to launder money from the IRGC–QF through the Central Bank of Iran and Al-Bilad Islamic Bank to a representative of Hezbollah. The IRGC–QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

Graphic showing transfer of money from Iran to Hezbollah (State Dept./S. Gemeny Wilkinson)
(State Dept./S. Gemeny Wilkinson)

“Supreme Leader Khamenei seems all too aware that economic reform would expose just how much his economy facilitates war, terrorism, and crime,” a senior State Department official said in a July briefing describing the network. “It is no wonder that international banks and firms refuse to enter the Iranian financial system.”

This is the first of two articles on how the U.S. is combating Iran’s funding of terrorism.