Economy, Business And Markets

EDBI Says FATF Role, Membership Inviolable

EDBI Says FATF Role, Membership Inviolable
EDBI Says FATF Role, Membership Inviolable

A banking expert says concerns regarding Iran cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force and the Islamic Republic’s membership in FATF are not insurmountable.

Mohammad Hassan Hajian says it is possible for Iran to become a full member of the FATF (intergovernmental organization founded to combat money laundering and counter terrorism financing). The head of the anti-money-laundering division at the Export Development Bank of Iran, cautioned that the quality of such relations and cooperation should be managed properly and senior officials such as the governor of the Central Bank of Iran and the Minister of Economy should have a role in it.

“As the CBI governor has said, they [FATF members] will not have access to all kinds of information and we will specify (what is and is not tantamount to) terrorism and will not accept anything they impose on us,” Hajian told Fars News Agency.

“Resolving these concerns demands interaction and negotiations with FATF members so that the newly-emerging windows of opportunity continue.”

At a meeting of its 37 members in South Korea in June, FATF kept Iran on its blacklist of high-risk countries but welcomed Iranian promises to improve and called for a one-year suspension of some restrictions on Tehran.

The one-year suspension of some restriction on Tehran by the Paris-based FATF was one such window of opportunity, according to the official. “It must be noted that the international group welcomed Iran’s commitment to address its strategic deficiencies, but decided to keep it on its blacklist of high-risk countries.”

Emphasizing the necessity of reestablishing links with international banks, Hajian said Iran used backchannels for its financial transactions during the sanctions era, “which imposed unwanted costs…But the progress in correspondent relations (with foreign banks) will help ease the flow of economic and financial transactions.”

On the EDBI establishing correspondent relations with foreign banks, the official said for now most foreign banks’ dealing with the EDBI are junior banks. “Top-tier banks too are slowly trying to connect with us and a few   recently began negotiations with our banks.” He did not provide details.