Iranian government criticizes top clerics over FATF remarks
Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 13
By Khalid Kazimov – Trend:
Iranian Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht has implicitly criticized at least two top clerics who have recently slammed President Hassan Rouhani’s administration over its cooperation with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“Issues such as FATF should be discussed during the sessions of the Supreme National Security Council, not at the Friday prayers sermons,” ILNA news agency quoted Mohammad Baqer Nobakht as saying at a press conference in Tehran.
“We expect [clerics] to preach about religious and political issues as well as justice and virtue during Friday prayers sermons,” the government spokesperson added.
Earlier on September 9, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, the interim leaders of Friday prayers in Tehran and Mashhad cities, both close to conservatives, during their speeches lashed out at the government over the FATF issue.
“How dare you [government] sign a document against the interests of the nation?” Jannati questioned government’s cooperation with the FATF, addressing worshipers on Friday.
FATF, the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), in June announced a decision on suspending its counter-measures against Iran for 12 months in order to monitor the country’s progress in implementing an Action Plan to address Tehran’s strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.
If the FATF determines that Iran has not demonstrated sufficient progress in implementing the Action Plan at the end of that period, FATF’s call for counter-measures will be re-imposed but if the Islamic Republic meets its commitments under the Action Plan in that time period, the FATF will consider its next steps in this regard.
The opponents of President Hassan Rouhani seized on the situation as a way to attack his government as soon as reports broke regarding a decision by two Iranian leading banks to refuse providing a company affiliated with the influential Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) with financial services.
At least in one case over the past month, Bank Sepah and Bank Mellat refrained from doing business with Khatam ol Anbia company, the construction and engineering arm of the IRGC.