By Ali A. Jenabzadeh

The FATF blacklist and its reverse impact on stock market

February 26, 2020 - 11:28

TEHRAN - It may seem a little too soon, but I believe the world is on the threshold of facing a new kingdom, an economic one. Here is the story of The Kingdom.

Right in the middle of parliamentary elections of Iran on February 21, 2020, people of Iran were shocked by a piece of news that came just out of the blue: Iran's name goes on the FATF blacklist. For most Iranians, it seemed bad and scary, mostly because they don't know what it means. The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of "G7" to develop so-called "policies" to combat money laundering and later, terrorism financing.

BEING in the FATF's blacklist is not something new for Iran, but KNOWING that we are on that list, is brand new information for most Iranians. Iran was added to The List in 2009 alongside countries like South Korea and Cuba. So yes, we were there before, but in 2015 after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by parties, this inclusion was suspended.

The FATF, as merely a supervisory structure and not an executive one, has posed different conditions on Iran to exclude the country from The List. One of them is the so-called Action Plan which includes 42 clauses. This Plan was SECRETLY granted by Ali Tayebnia, the minister of economic affairs and finance in Hassan Rouhani's first government. In fact, out of 42 clauses, 38 are already effective and in process. The entire controversy is over the remaining 4 and once the rest of these clauses are taken in, members of the FATF should decide whether or not Iran will be excluded from the list. Guess who is seating there to decide? Israel, next to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia... 

But here is the question: if being in a blacklist, in any blacklist, is bad, then why Iranian Stock Exchange index skyrocketed just one day after the blacklist monster was unleashed? Howcome the reactions were not so promising in other markets like gold or currency? The math is simple: The Blacklist lets the genie out of the bottle!

The FATF is consisted of some OUTSIDERS from whom, some would never hesitate even for a second to take harshest actions against Iran in circumstances which we now call Economic War. The Plan brings about Self-Boycott. According to the demanding and explicit definition of The Action Plan, "any organization considered terroristic or capable of conducting terrorism under a decision taken by the Security Council of United Nations, must be considered terrorist by the government of Iran". Why this is important? Because many domestic industries of Iran including the Defense Industry and organizations related to the Iranian army in any possible way are already included in The Councils' list of terroristic organizations due to tamper of the U.S. and granting The Plan means sanctioning these vital industries, from inside!

Also, it is crucial to note that The Plan will open the gates towards some very important and very secret information. In recent years, due to heavy sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S. government, the country has found itself unable to keep the trade flow running unless some special measures are taken to bypass the sanctions. Forming a hidden network of currency exchangers in neighboring countries is one of those measures. Granting those clauses means spoiling those networks.

The U.S. government, especially the Department of Treasury which designs sanctions against Iran, has different sets of data to make its sanctions more accurate and more effective: currency information which is now acquired through the interbank transaction systems or mainly The Swift, information about our private and international companies which was provided once audit companies were settled inside the country after the secret agreement of aforementioned minister of economic affairs, and the last but not the least, data about Rial-based transactions of country which will be provided thoroughly right after The Plan is approved by the parliament.

So yes. Being in The Blacklist is good this time. The genie is out, and domestic industries can make a wish: help our businesses survive the war! And unlike many other wishes, this wish is fulfillable, only because we ARE in The Blacklist... Considering the reform of the Parliament after Fridays' elections, it is due to say that Iran is now stepping in the way of empowerment by relying on domestic capacities much more than before. This means independence in most presumable ways and moving forward to shape a new economic kingdom in West Asia in alliance with regional countries. A kingdom, with Iran at the center. 

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