1119 GMT March 31, 2020
“The Islamic Republic, with its domestic laws, pursues the fight against money laundering as a necessary reality and a domestic goal,” Zarif told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on unilateralism and international law in Tehran on Monday.
“The FATF’s decision is totally politically-motivated and we strongly disagree with it, but for the sake of our own national interest, we have taken all the necessary steps to fight against the financing of terrorism and money laundering,” he added, according to Tasnim News Agency.
On Friday, the Paris-based FATF put more pressure on Iran by asking countries to introduce enhanced processes for reporting financial transactions concerning the country.
However, the FATF extended until February a deadline for Iran to implement certain measures or face further restrictions.
The FATF expressed that Tehran is expected to “proceed swiftly in the reform path to ensure that it addresses all of the remaining items by completing and implementing the necessary Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing reforms.”
The watchdog had earlier extended the suspension of its counter-measures several times as Iran’s legislature was engaged in passing the relevant bills.
Last October, Iran's Parliament approved four bills put forward by the government to meet standards set by the FATF.
Only two of them have so far gone into effect and the fate of the two others, one on Iran’s accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the other one; a bill amending Iran’s Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) law, is still in limbo.
Foreign businesses say Iran's compliance with FATF rules is key if Tehran wants to attract investors, especially after the United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year.
France, Britain and Germany have tied Iran's compliance and removal from the FATF blacklist to a new channel for non-dollar trade with Iran designed to avert US sanctions.
Supporters of the bill’s passage say it could ease foreign trade with Europe and Asia when the country's economy is targeted by US sanctions.
Opponents, however, say membership in the FATF will only make the country vulnerable to outside meddling.
They say Iran's implementation of FATF standards so far has not only failed to attract investment, but it has also exposed various institutions to extraterritorial regulations and penalties.