Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Not Satisfied by FATF Ruling

Iran Not Satisfied by FATF Ruling
Iran Not Satisfied by FATF Ruling
FATF members extended the suspension of countermeasures indefinitely and did not provide a deadline as they had the last time

The Economy Ministry has issued a statement through its anti-money laundering division, providing a mixed reaction to the recent verdict of the Financial Action Task Force concerning Iran.

“Even though we regard the recent FATF decision as a step forward, we announce that this positive measure does not satisfy Iran so we will continue to follow up the matter to provide the Iranian people with their full rights,” the statement reads, according to Shada, the ministry’s official news outlet.

Late Friday, the plenary FATF meeting in Valencia, Spain, concluded by way of a unanimous decision that “Iran’s demonstration of its political commitment and the relevant steps it has taken in line with its Action Plan” warrant an indefinite extension of suspensions on countermeasures for Tehran to address its shortcomings.

However, the decision was not met with the full approval of Tehran since Iranian officials had hoped for a full removal from the blacklist of violating countries. 

In the ministry’s statement, published by the Financial Intelligence Unit and the High Council on Anti-Money Laundering affiliated with the ministry and headed by the economy minister, it has been noted that since Iran adopted more serious measures in combating money laundering and financing of terrorism during the previous year, it deserved a better judgment.

Had the conditions of the country been evaluated strictly based on technical criteria, countermeasures would certainly be stopped in full, “but the enmity of the US and its regional allies prevented this from happening”.

A number of officials had stressed before the meeting of the global AML/CFT standard-setting body that the US is using its influence to sway FATF members in making a decision against Iran. 

They cited an article in the Wall Street Journal by former US senators Joseph Lieberman and Mark Kirk with the lobby group United Against Nuclear Iran, which called for stricter measures against Iran as the latest string of evidence.

 Political Motives 

According to FIU, a limited number of countries, including the US, Argentina, Israel and a representative of the [Gulf] Cooperation Council, had called for a reinstatement of active countermeasures against Iran “without technical logic and strictly based on political bias”.

But since the Paris-based intergovernmental taskforce’s decisions are made unanimously and a significant number of member countries rejected the American stance, the statement adds, the US and its allies were forced to agree to a softer ruling. 

The Washington-based Al-Monitor also ran a story on Monday, quoting an unnamed official with Donald Trump’s State Department who said “we support the FATF decision”, but claimed that the US “shares FATF’s concerns about the terrorist financing threat emanating from Iran”.

It also quoted Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former Treasury Department official who is now with the Center for a New American Security, an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit organization that “develops national security and defense policies”, as saying that the FATF decision was “technical and sober”.

The FIU statement notes that in line with its own inherent interests, Iran has not spared efforts to implement AML/CFT measures since FATF first suspended countermeasures against Iran in June 2016.

In the past year, it adds, Iran has strived to brief FATF members thoroughly on its commitments, especially those concerning supervision over electronic and physical transfers of money going in and out of Iran. 

The Financial Intelligence Unit also underscores the fact that FATF members extended the suspension of countermeasures indefinitely and did not provide a deadline as they had the last time despite US pressure. It notes that the lack of deadline is in Iran’s favor and “shows the increased Iranian clout with the intergovernmental group”.

FIU is a national institution tasked with receiving and analyzing reports on suspicious transactions and other information regarding money laundering and crimes concerning financing of terrorism. It communicates its findings to Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia and related bodies.

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