Feb 22, 2020 14:00 Asia/Tehran [Updated: May 18, 2020 21:52 Asia/Tehran]
  • FATF measures to put Iran on its blacklist; Commentary

The Western block, led by the US has long favored a policy of comprehensive pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran to force it to change its principles and policies. One of the most important aspects of this approach is financial and economic pressures on Iran.

Iran Press/commentary: The Financial Action Task Force, FATF blacklisted Iran on Friday.

Earlier, the Wall Street Journal had reported that after European countries' agreement, the Paris-based entity had made a decision to join the US in pursuing the maximum pressure on Iran.

The Financial Action Task Force, in its statement, implicitly stated that measures against Iran were reversible and that Iran could be excluded from the black-list after it ratifies relevant bills; a European diplomat told Reuters that including Iran in the FATF blacklist does not mean that all the doors were completely closed for Iran.

By the decision of the Heads of State of the G7 countries and the alleged mission of combating money laundering, the Task Force on Financial Action was established in 1989 in Paris.

The heads of the G7 have called for the establishment of such a body to harmonize banking regulations and fight money laundering. In 2001 and after the 9/11 events, the US tried to include what was called the "terrorist financing" into FATF's agenda.

Although the FATF decision restricts many of Iran's financial transactions and put them under the spotlight, regardless of how Iran and FATF interact, this decision will not have a great deal of practical impact since most Western banks are refusing to have financial and banking transactions with Iran due to unilateral US sanctions.

Because of US influence on European countries, this latest FATF decision has been taken under heavy US pressure.

Senior Trump administration officials, including the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have repeatedly called for Iran to join the FTA. On February 12, 2020, the US secretary of state called on Iran to join the 'Terrorist Financing Convention' and the 'Palermo Convention'.

However, Mike Pompeo has expressed his pleasure after the anti-Iranian measure by the Financial Action Task Force. In a statement on Friday, Pompeo said that the Iranian government must face the consequences of continuing its defiance of international norms, in particular, its failure to ratify the Palermo Convention on the Financing of Terrorism Act (FTA).

Earlier, four US senators had pointed out in a letter to the group that despite two years of suspension, Iran had not made any changes to its procedures and should be put back on the blacklist as soon as possible.

Iran has repeatedly emphasized that the United States and its allies are making great efforts to re-insert Iran into the FATF blacklist, seeking to put Tehran in a bind.

Recently, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that three pro-terrorist regimes of United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel were scrambling to send Iran back to the FATF blacklist.

Washington's satisfaction with Iran's inclusion on the FTA blacklist suggests that Washington views the group as a proper tool for effectively imposing sanctions on countries that are opposed to US policies, including Iran.

On the other hand, Iran considers this move by the Financial Action Task Force as politically-motivated and biased. Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said: "In the last two years, Iran has fully implemented all laws and regulations related to money laundering and Saudi Arabia, as the central bank of terrorism and Israel as a terrorist regime, have been financing terrorism and given the maximum support for the terrorist groups and organizations around the world, but Iran, the one which has the most cooperation in this field and has extraordinary transparency is placed on the blacklist."  101/212/211

Written by Seyyed Reza Mir Taher

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