Govt. must continue efforts to reduce consequences of FATF blacklisting: analyst

February 25, 2020 - 21:8

TEHRAN - Mehdi Motaharnia, a political analyst, has said that the government must continue efforts to reduce consequences of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“We have to study the current situation, restrictions and destructive consequences in order to be able to reduce the consequences,” he told ISNA in an interview published on Tuesday.

He noted that 80 percent of international trade are done under regulations of the FATF and being blacklisted will cause restrictions on economic and banking transactions.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran has been a forerunner in fighting money laundering and did not deserve to be blacklisted by the FATF.

“The great Iranian people and the Islamic Republic of Iran did not and do not deserve to be placed on an international body’s countermeasures list while it [the country] is forerunner in fighting terrorism and money laundering,” he said during a cabinet meeting.

He added, “We made efforts to prevent being introduced by the United States and the Zionist regime as violator of these measures while we are forerunner in fighting terrorism and money laundering.”

Being blacklisted by the FATF is against the Iranian people’s interests, the president remarked. 

“As it was expected, it made the United States happy and will justify intensification of cruel and inhumane sanctions. Now, those who gave pretext to the United States must be accountable for their unprofessional position,” Rouhani asserted.

The FATF on Friday placed Iran on its blacklist after Iran refused to comply with all requirements of the body.

According to Reuters, the FATF appeared to leave the door ajar for Iran saying “countries should also be able to apply countermeasures independently of any call by the FATF to do so.”

Diako Hosseini, director of the World Studies Program at the presidential Centre for Strategic Studies, told IRNA that opponents of joining the FATF must now be held accountable.

“Those who impeded procedure of joining the FATF must be accountable for pressure and the future situation and be responsible for being blacklisted,” he said.

Kourosh Ahmadi, an expert on international affairs, has said that the way to get removed from the FATF blacklist is open to Iran.

“Removal from the FATF blacklist is open for Iran. It is not necessary to start everything from the beginning. We can just continue the job from where it was stopped. One case is joining the CFT and the Palermo bill,” he told IRNA in an interview published on Sunday.

He noted, “The FATF has mentioned six points to remove Iran from blacklist and one of them is joining the CFT and the Palermo bill. Other points includes technical and legal issues with which Iran has no problem.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday that the blacklisting of Iran is “politically motivated”.

“Unfortunately, what happened is politically motivated which exists in the international mechanisms by the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Zionist regime of Israel. They have influence on these mechanisms and make efforts to politicize them,” Mousavi said.

He noted that Iran can never be labeled with money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The U.S., the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia had made great efforts to pressure the international body to blacklist Iran.

However, Abdolnasser Hemmati, Iran’s central bank governor, has argued the move will not affect the Iranian foreign trade and stability in foreign exchange market.

“The performance of the central bank over the last year has given this assurance to the people that such events will not create problems for Iran’s foreign trade and stability in foreign exchange market,” Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page immediately after Iran was put on the blacklist.

Hemmati said such “political and unprofessional” behaviors toward Iran has been continuing against Iran since the summer of 2016.

He said the representatives of the U.S. and its allies at the FATF had been focused on undermining expert reports about the great steps taken by Iran in line with the FATF requirements.

The FATF said in October 2019 that it has given 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 does not enact the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF Standards, then the FATF will 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.

In November 2019, Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam, a cleric member of the Expediency Council trained in economy, said, “In a situation in which the country is under the most severe sanctions, joining such conventions is (synonymous with) self-inflicted sanctions. In the situation in which the United States seeks to limit the country’s financial relations, it is not beneficial to join institutions like the FATF.”

NA/PA
 

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