University professor argues joining FATF will narrow down pressure on Iran

November 13, 2019

TEHRAN – A university professor has opined that the core of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is monetary transparency, so joining to the body will remarkably slow down international pressure on Iran. 

Yadollah Mehralizadeh, a member of the scientific board in Shahid Chamran University in Ahwaz, described the FATF as an international standard body tasked to prepare financial analyses to present them to investors so that they would be able to study monetary and financial processes of FATF member states.

“So, if an investor wants to invest in a country, he/she usually consults reports of official experts of the FATF,” explained Mehralizadeh, who also serves as a member of Khuzestan province’s planning and development council.

Highlighting the importance of joining the Paris-based body, he added, “Joining the FATF will glorify the country’s businesses, attract more foreign investors and facilitate monetary and financial transactions which all together will assist the government as well as the country.”

He, of course, mentioned that joining the FATF will not decrease sanctions pressure, saying, “Sanction is a political issue which has roots in differences between Iran and the U.S.”

The professor went on to say that joining the FATF will also block way to the U.S. that has always been seeking to invent pretexts to pressure Tehran. 

“FATF membership will decrease risk of private sector in investment arena,” Mehralizadeh stated, adding that the FATF is not a political agreement at all, but some of its opponents try to portray it as a political pact. 

In mid-October, the Paris-based FATF said that it gave Iran a final deadline of February 2020 to tighten its laws against money laundering in compliance with the global watchdog’s financial standards.

“If before February 2020, Iran would not enact the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF Standards, then the FATF could fully lift the suspension of counter-measures and call on its members and urge all jurisdictions to apply effective counter-measures, in line with recommendation 19,” the FATF said in a statement at the time cited by Reuters.

“The FATF expects Iran 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.”

On February 22, the FATF gave Iran until June to fix its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules or face increased international scrutiny of its banks.

However, the body extended the deadline until October in an announcement in June.

One of the actions Iran is required to take to appease the FATF is joining the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which is also called the Palermo Convention, a 2000 United Nations-sponsored multilateral treaty against transnational organized crime.

The other action is to ratify the CFT, the convention combatting financing of terrorism.

On October 7, 2018, the parliament voted in favor of the CFT. However, the oversight Guardian Council rejected the bill by finding 22 faults with it, which put the fate of the bill on the hands of the Expediency Council.

MJ/PA

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