Yemeni Official Accuses Iran for Constantly Trying to Counterfeit the Country’s Currency

The Yemeni government has accused Iranian institutions of constantly trying to counterfeit the Yemeni currency causing its devaluation, Al Arabiya reports.

A government spokesperson said that this is aimed at “extorting the international community by using the humanitarian card to stop military operations against the Houthi militia.”

“The Iranian plan aims to preserve the Houthis and save its project which is nearing its end after the increasing hits and civilian defeats that it is suffering from the Yemeni army with the support of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition,” the spokesperson Rabeh al-Bady said.

Al-Bady added that the militia stole five billion dollars from Yemen’s foreign currency reserves, and controls two trillion Yemeni Riyals in banks according to a press release published by the official Yemeni news agency, Saba.  He said that the Houthis are using this large amount of local money to speculate exchange rates and withdraw foreign currencies, which actually deteriorates the value of the Yemeni Riyal.

The spokesman added that the Yemeni government is doing its best to find effective solutions to stop the devaluation of their currency which he described as “unacceptable”.

“Some decisions and procedures will be implemented in this regard,” he said without giving any further details.

The Yemeni Riyal has reached its lowest value in history in the past few days, where one U.S. dollar is now equivalent to 500 Yemeni Riyals after it was only 215 Riyals before the Houthi battles began. This also caused the prices of goods and services to rise significantly.

The U.S. Treasury Department had placed a number of companies and clients belonging to the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on a sanctions list for printing counterfeit money worth millions of dollars in Yemen.

Last November, it sanctioned a network of individuals and companies it said counterfeited Yemeni bank notes potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran Revolutionary Guard’s Qods Force. The network circumvented European export restrictions in order to provide the counterfeiting supplies and equipment, according to a Treasury statement.

“The counterfeiting scheme exposed the deep levels of deception that the Qods Force, a Revolutionary Guard unit carrying out missions outside the country, employs against companies in Europe, governments in the Gulf, and the rest of the world to support its destabilizing activities,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

According to Treasury, Pardavesh Tasvir Rayan Co. is a printing operation controlled by businessman Reza Heidari and owned by Tejarat Almas Mobin Holding that procured equipment and materials to print counterfeit Yemeni rial bank notes. Qods Force used the currency to support its activities.

“Heidari used front companies and other methods to keep European suppliers in the dark about their ultimate customer. He coordinated with Mahmoud Seif, Tejarat’s managing director, on the logistics of procuring materials and moving them into Iran,” Treasury said.

Treasury sanctioned both men and both companies, as well as ForEnt Technik GmbH, which Heidari owns, and Printing Trade Center GmbH for serving as front companies in the operation.