Cooperation with FATF does not suit Iran: official
Tehran, Iran, September 4
By Mehdi Sepahvand –Trend:
A senior Iranian official has said cooperating with the Financial Action Task Force does not suit Iran, objecting to a decision by the government for improving relations with the anti-money laundering body.
“We are not bound to implement whatever international organizations unjustly decide for Iran,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, head of the Expediency Council’s Strategic Research Center and a senior advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Tasnim news agency reported September 4.
On June 24, the FATF decided to keep Iran on its blacklist of high-risk countries but welcomed Iranian promises to improve and called for a one-year suspension of some restrictions on Tehran.
“The FATF welcomes Iran's adoption of, and high-level political commitment to, an Action Plan to address its strategic deficiencies,” the task force said in a statement.
“The FATF therefore has suspended counter-measures for 12 months in order to monitor Iran's progress in implementing the Action Plan.”
On July 18 a report said a “covert agreement” of the Iranian government with the FATF imposes sanctions on 87 Iranian personalities, mostly top brass military figures and organizations.
The agreement is being fiercely criticized by conservatives, government critics in particular, many of whom say the financial condition paves way for foreign intervention and espionage.
The FATF statement says if Iran fails to improve its record on money laundering and financing terrorism as promised, the FATF's call for vigorous counter-measures will be reinstated. If there is improvement, the task force will consider further positive steps.
Velayati said through the agreement, “international bodies aim at limiting Iran in terms of financial resources and international monetary facilities, a kind of sanctions and restriction on Iran’s economic activists which we should not follow.”
Iran was freed of international sanctions in July under its nuclear deal with world powers. However, a set of primary US sanctions which are still in place continue to discourage world banks to cooperate with Iran.
During the sanctions years, Tehran used to bypass banking sanctions by carrying out international transactions via proxies, that is, individuals that it highly trusted to handle its money.