Iran has made most efforts to counter money laundering: Zarif

November 3, 2019

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Iran, including the Foreign Ministry, has made most efforts to counter money laundering.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran and Foreign Ministry have made most efforts to counter the Westerners’ move in money laundering,” he said in a session of the parliament.

He added, “Most efforts in line with countering the Westerners’ moves in money laundering have been made by the Islamic Republic and the Foreign Ministry and we will continue these efforts. I defended the position of Iran when the committee of joint action [Financial Action Task Force (FATF)] took action against Iran.”

Pointing to remarks he made about money laundering last year, Zarif said, “Accusations are being leveled against the Islamic Republic about refraining to join conventions because the country does not seek to fight terrorism and money laundering. What I said was that there are pressure groups who have personal interests. Now, you can watch what ‘sultan of coins’ said in court about ways to do money laundering.”

Vahid Mazloumin, known as “sultan of coins”, was executed in December 2018 on charges of having hoarded two tons of gold coins in order to agitate the gold market.

Zarif noted, “If there is no money laundering in the country, on what charges did you execute the sultan of coins?”

“There are pressure groups who have interests in money laundering. If it was not so, the Judiciary would not approve a chart of 60 pages to fight money laundering. Why did you turn what I said in defense of the country into remarks against the system?” he stated.

In an interview with the Khabar Online published on November 10, 2018, Zarif said, “After all, money laundering is a reality in our country and there are many who benefit from money laundering.”

He added that those who profit billions of dollars from money laundering are spending millions of it to prevent the passage of the bills requiring more financial transparency.

The comments triggered a wave of enraged responses from some conservative politicians, who called for the impeachment of the foreign minister.

President Hassan Rouhani defended Zarif’s remarks, saying not just Iran but the entire world is suffering from money laundering.

“Why do we fight over such obvious issues? Yes, the entire world is suffering from money laundering. Show me one country in the whole world in which money laundering does not take place and show me one country in the whole world in which corruption, narcotics and fake products do not exist,” he said.

NA/PA

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