Iran to push FATF co-op despite domestic pressure
Tehran, Iran, Sept. 6
By Mehdi Sepahvand – Trend:
The Iranian government has said it is intent upon continuing cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on anti-terrorism and money laundering actions despite pressure from domestic critics.
The Supreme Anti-Money Laundering Council, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Economy, issued an announcement that says the concerns and accusations of the critics are unfounded, IRNA news agency reported Sept. 6.
The issue of Tehran’s cooperation with the FATF was raised in the past month as critics accused the Rouhani administration of having plotted with world powers to restrict some military personages and institutes under last year’s nuclear deal.
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 therefore has suspended countermeasures for 12 months in order to monitor Iran's progress in implementing the Action Plan,” the international body announced then.
The government’s decision to improve the country’s financial transparency in cooperation with the FATF has found critics as strong as Ali Akbar Velayati, head of the Expediency Council’s Strategic Research Center and a senior advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“We are not bound to implement whatever international organizations unjustly decide for Iran,” Velayati said Sept. 4, adding the move is a “plot” to restrict Iran’s access to financial resources.
Many of the critics of the government’s decision say the financial condition paves the way for foreign intervention and espionage.
The Supreme Anti-Money Laundering Council first of all negates the claim that the cooperation is a plot devised by the Rouhani government, noting that it has been approved by the parliament in the past, and, furthermore, previous governments also cooperated with the FATF as much as sanctions allowed them.
The council refutes claims that the cooperation will dispose Iran’s financial data to other FATF members, therefore negating concerns over foreign espionage in the country’s affairs.
“In order to fight corruption and also improve relations with the world’s monetary system,” the announcement concludes, “international cooperation will be continued… until due result is reached.”