Fate of Iran’s banking relations depends on decision on FATF

Tehran, Iran, Feb.16

Trend:

Iran’s Expediency Council has once failed to reach a consensus over a parliamentary bill on Iran’s accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as members have postponed voting on the FATF-related bill.

"If we want to integrate into the international banking system, we must ratify the FATF-related bills,” Chairman of Investment and Capital Committee of Iran chamber of commerce, Abbas Argon told Trend.

Joining the FATF and approving its related bills are still not ruled out, he said referring to the ongoing meeting of the Expediency Council.

“In my opinion, these bills will be approved, because if this will not happen, all the banking relationships of the country with the world and some kind of funds which are still working under the sanctions, will face a number of problems.”

It is anticipated that with the authorities` considerations, the FATF related bills will be approved, he said.

Out of four parliamentary bills required for Iran’s accession to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), only two have so far gone into effect.

However, Iranian hardliners have opposed the bills related to FATF, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies.

Argon explained that joining the FATF is important for developing banking relationships with Europe and other countries, so the effectiveness of INSTEX is dependent on adopting FATF-related bills.

On Jan. 31, three European countries – France, Germany and the UK (shortened as E3) – officially announced the creation of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), a special purpose vehicle, to allow them bypass US sanctions on trade with Iran. INSTEX facilitates non-dollar trade with Iran, allowing European companies to trade with the Islamic Republic without being hit by the sanctions.

“In some ways, it must be said that the banking space should be opened up to allow Europe to fulfill its obligations in JCPOA in the area of banking interactions with Iran, if Iran wants to stay in nuclear deal,” he added.

“The membership of Iran in FATF affects all of those items,” he said. “If we do not join it, all of our allies will cut off their banking relationships.”

Pointing to special bilateral funds with China and India he said that joining the FATF will affect Iran's banking relations with such countries as China and India too.

“But reviews are ongoing and we hope the problem will be resolved,” he said referring to Iran`s decision on FATF.

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