Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Iranian online news media is claiming that accused Russian Iran sanctions violator, Reza Zarrab, fled to the United States to escape arrest in Turkey, and extradition to face extortion charges in Iran, and that he is cooperating with the US. This statement is not credible, however, if one looks at both the tough treatment Zarrab received from US Customs & Border Protection, when he arrived in Miami, and the hard-fought, no quarter given or expected, nature of his attorneys' defense of his case. There is no evidence of any cooperation, and Zarrab has assembled a large team of lawyers, which is vigorously fighting the charges.

There may be political reasons for this obvious attempt at disinformation; both Turkey & Iran have asked that the United States turn Zarrab over to them; Turkey's president appear to be an ally of the gold trader, who reportedly sold over $400m in internationally-sanctioned Iranian oil. Iran wants Zarrab, because he allegedly has access to the $3bn Iran says was stolen by his partner, Babak Zanjani, and his  associates, which includes Alireza Monfared, recently arrested in the Dominican Republic and brought to Iran, to face embezzlement charges. Also, given the extremely poor nature of the American-Iranian relationship, this may just be another attempt to portray the US in a bad light, by accusing it of being allied with a known major criminal.

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