FinCEN Advisory to Financial Institutions to Counter the Financing of Iran-Backed Terrorist Organizations

May 8, 2024

In light of intensified terrorist activity in the Middle East, FinCEN urges vigilance in identifying potential suspicious activity related to the financing of Iran-backed militias and terrorist organizations, including Hamas, the Houthis, Hizballah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Iran-aligned militia groups in Iraq and Syria.


The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is issuing this advisory to assist financial institutions in detecting potentially illicit transactions related to Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran)-backed terrorist organizations amid intensified terrorist activity in the Middle East. Recent events have underscored Iran’s involvement in and financing of terrorist activity in the region. Iran seeks, among other goals, to project power by exporting terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond through the financing of a range of regional armed groups, some of which are U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) or Specially Designated Global Terrorist organizations (SDGTs). These terrorist organizations include Lebanese Hizballah (Hizballah), Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the Houthis (Ansarallah), and several Iran-aligned militia groups in Iraq and Syria. As demonstrated by the October 7, 2023, Hamas attack on Israel and recent Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, these organizations are capable of perpetrating horrific violence, causing destruction, and disrupting critical supply chains. The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has been systematically working to dismantle these organizations by disrupting their illicit finance networks and eliminating their sources of revenue. 

This advisory highlights the means by which terrorist organizations receive support from Iran and describes several typologies these terrorist organizations use to illicitly access or circumvent the international financial system to raise, move, and spend funds. It also provides red flags that may assist financial institutions in identifying related suspicious activity and is consistent with FinCEN’s National Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/ CFT) Priorities, which include terrorist financing. 

The information contained in this advisory is derived from FinCEN’s analysis of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) data, open-source reporting, and information provided by law enforcement partners.