Iran says the move by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to place the country on its blacklist was a politically-motivated decision, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic can never be labeled with money laundering and financing of terrorism.
“Unfortunately, this is also part of the politicization of international mechanisms [carried out] by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the Zionist regime (Israel). Given their influence on these mechanisms, they are trying to politicize them,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Friday.
“Saudi Arabia, as the central bank of terrorism and the Zionist regime as a terrorist state, are providing terrorist groups and organizations around the world with the most support,” he added.
However, they blacklist Iran which has the highest level of cooperation and transparency in the field of combating money laundering and financing of terrorists, he added.
Mousavi emphasized that Iran has been implementing all laws and regulations related to money laundering and financing of terrorism for more than two years, saying, “International mechanisms have advantages and disadvantages and placing Iran on FATF’s blacklist came despite all efforts we have made inside the country and all regulations we have tried to observe.”
The Iranian spokesperson made the remarks in reaction to the global dirty money watchdog’s move to place Iran on its blacklist after Tehran refused to fully adopt its provisions.
“Given Iran’s failure to enact the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF Standards, the FATF fully lifts the suspension of counter-measures and calls on its members and urges all jurisdictions to apply effective counter-measures,” the group’s 39 members said in a statement on Friday.
Meanwhile, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati also said on Friday that the FATF’s move against the Islamic Republic would fail to create any problem for the country’s foreign trade or stability of exchange rate.
“Performance of the Central Bank of Ian over the last year has assured people that such incidents will create no problem for Iran’s foreign trade and stability of exchange rate,” Hemmati said in an Instagram post.
In cooperation with other economic sectors, the CBI would continue to carry out its mission “in order to meet the country’s trade requirements with no stop,” he added.
He emphasized that the US and Israeli regime once again showed their animosity towards the Iranian nation within the framework of opposing all recommendations by the FATF’s experts about “steps taken by Iran in the field of the fulfillment of its commitments vis-à-vis financing of terrorism and money laundering.”
The Iranian chief banker added that such a “politically-motivated and untechnical” attitude has been pursuing towards Iran through different ways over the past three years while all the FATF statements verified the Islamic Republic’s major steps to fulfill its commitments.
In October 2018, the purported global finance watchdog gave Iran four months “for the sixth and last time” to ratify bills relating to the campaign against money laundering and funding terrorism.
Out of the four bills required by the FATF, Iran has already accepted two, but the other two bills have been stalled amid worries that they may expose the country to financial spying and new sanctions on Tehran.
To address the issue, Iran has adopted a set of internal regulations to fight money laundering and funding terrorism.
The government has been urging for the ratification of the remaining FATF bills, contending that without them, Iran may not be able to conduct financial transactions with its allies such as Russia and China. It has also warned Iran’s currency might fall if the bills are not ratified.
Iranian authorities have had their reservations about the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions, saying they could be misused by governments like the United States and others to pressure Iran politically.
In October 2018, the Iranian Parliament passed a bill on combating the financing of terrorism as part of the country’s implementation of international standards set by the FATF.
The combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) bill, one of four put forward by the government to meet FATF demands, was passed by 143 votes to 120.