Lawmakers Urge Gov’t to Cooperate With FATF

Lawmakers Urge Gov’t to Cooperate With FATFLawmakers Urge Gov’t to Cooperate With FATF

Lawmakers have called on the government to cooperate with the Financial Action Task Force that monitors money laundering worldwide to convince the international group to drop Iran from its blacklist of high-risk countries.

"I believe that through interaction with FATF, Iran can be removed from the group's blacklist," Jalal Mirzaei, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told ICANA on Monday.

"The government has decided to cooperate with FATF and is trying to answer some of their questions."

Iran agreed in June 2016 to an action plan with FATF under which the task force suspended some restrictions on Tehran for one year but still kept it on its blacklist.

"FATF, therefore, has suspended counter-measures for 12 months in order to monitor Iran's progress in implementing the action plan," the watchdog said in a statement at the time.

According to the statement, if Iran fails to improve its alleged record concerning money laundering and financing terrorism as promised, FATF's call for vigorous counter-measures will be reinstated and if there is improvement, the task force will consider further positive steps.

"FATF welcomes Iran's adoption of, and high-level political commitment to, an action plan to address its [alleged anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing] deficiencies," the group said in its statement.

The action plan involves restrictions on a number of Iranian people and entities blacklisted for their connection to missile development programs and alleged terror activities, including some divisions of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

Lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said although FATF's decisions are not legally binding, they effectively deter other countries from engaging in transactions with the designated high-risk countries.

"By acceding to part of the risks in the [FATF] agreement, the government can extend the suspension for another year," Falahatpisheh said.

He noted that the United States is taking advantage of FATF's mechanism to limit the Islamic Republic's access to dividends of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Tehran has complained it is not getting economic benefits it was promised during the nearly two-year-long negotiations leading to the accord with major powers in 2015.

As a result of that pact, many international sanctions against Iran were lifted in exchange for temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

The United States, however, still has sanctions in place, which include a ban on Iran-linked transactions in dollars being processed through the US financial system and sanctions on individuals and entities on a US blacklist of alleged terrorism supporters and human rights violators.

Major international banks have held back from the Iranian economy because they are wary of getting into trouble with US authorities.

The key deterrent for foreigners is that they could face heavy US penalties for even unwittingly dealing with an Iranian party under sanctions. The main challenge for any international company is vetting potential Iranian partners to ensure they are not on the US blacklist.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints