Ali Tayyebnia, the Minister of Economy and Finance, says the controversial transfer of government money in the form of cash in suitcases “was legal”.

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The Central News Agency reports that Tayyebnia said: “The sourcing and spending of foreign currency are among the responsibilities of the Central Bank, and the country has various imports and payments in foreign currencies.”

Referring to the sanctions against Iran, the economy minister stressed that the Central Bank uses all possible methods and tools to most effectively administer the needs of the country in this regard.

International sanctions against Iran restrict Iran’s ability to carry out international bank transactions.

Tayyebnia stressed that the suitcases of foreign currency have left the country with the knowledge of the administration and “nothing illegal has occurred”.

Last week, Iranian MP Elias Naderan spoke against the administration’s handling of the nuclear negotiations and cited the example of cash leaving the country in suitcases as an example of the government’s mishandling of the situation.

He said the monies freed up through the Geneva Agreement reached in the nuclear talks in November 2013 are being squandered and have to be laundered because the sanctions persist.

The head of the Central Bank, Valiollah Seif, also rejected the MP’s accusations and stressed last week that the Central Bank is handling its responsibilities, which include control of the foreign currency market.