News ID: 265971
Published: 0505 GMT February 21, 2020

Iran calls FATF move politically motivated

Iran calls FATF move politically motivated
REUTERS

Head of the Central Bank of Iran described a decision taken by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday to place Iran on its blacklist as a politically motivated move, stressing that the watchdog's decision will have no impact on the country's foreign trade.

"The decision is politically motivated and not a technical decision ... I can assure our nation that it will have no impact on Iran's foreign trade and the stability of our exchange rate," IRNA quoted Abdolnasser Hemmati as saying.

“Such incidents will create no problem for Iran’s foreign trade and currency,” he said in a statement. Hemmati added the FATF decision was based on the “enmity” of the US and Israel toward Iran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi also called the FATF move as a politically motived one.

“Unfortunately, this is also part of the politicization of international mechanisms by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Zionist regime. Due to their influence on these mechanisms, they are trying to influence these issues politically,” said Mousavi on Friday.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has implemented all the laws and regulations related to money laundering and financing of terrorism for more than two years,” he said, adding that “International mechanisms have advantages and disadvantages, and Iran was blacklisted by the FATF despite all the efforts we have made domestically on the issue.”

“Saudi Arabia, as the central bank of terrorism and the Zionist regime as a terrorist state, provide the most support for terrorist groups and organizations around the world, but they blacklist Iran, which has the highest degree of cooperation and transparency,” added the spokesman, highlighting that Iran can never be labeled with money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Reuters reported on Friday that the watchdog has placed Iran on its blacklist after Tehran failed to comply with international anti-terrorism financing norms.

However, the FATF appeared to leave the door ajar for Iran saying “countries should also be able to apply counter-measures independently of any call by the FATF to do so.”

The Paris-based monitoring group, had given Iran a February deadline to approve the anti-terrorism legislation or remain on the blacklist.

Although Iran’s Parliament passed the legislation, the country’s Guardian Council rejected it.

Among the recommendations made, the FATF noted Iran should “adequately” criminalize terrorism financing and ratify United Nations anti-terrorism financing conventions.

The FATF decision will mean more scrutiny of transactions with Iran, tougher external auditing of financing firms operating in the country and add pressure on the few banks and businesses still operating with Iran.

Foreign businesses say Iran’s compliance with FATF rules is key if Tehran wants to attract investors, especially since the United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers.

Washington has since pushed a policy of “maximum pressure”, saying a broader deal should be negotiated on nuclear issues, Iran’s missile program and Iranian activities in the Middle East.

France, Britain and Germany have tried to salvage the deal, but have faced growing pressure from the US to join its efforts against Iran.

Iran’s officials have been divided over complying with the FATF. Supporters say it could ease foreign trade with Europe and Asia when the country’s economy is targeted by US sanctions.

Opponents argue that passing legislation toward joining the FATF could hamper Iran’s support for its allies.

The FATF monitors all forms of illicit finance, from money laundering to terrorism financing. If the FATF places a country on its black or gray lists, it can complicated that nation’s ability to tap global credit markets or welcome international investments.

In a separate ruling on Friday, the FATF announced that it would keep Pakistan on its gray list, a step above a blacklisting, but criticized the country for not doing enough to fight terrorism financing.

 

   
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