Spokesman rejects gov’t critics’ claims against FATF

IRNA – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi on Thursday rejected critics’ claims that adoption of the action plan of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will result in extradition of Iranian top Quds Force commander to US.

Qasemi made the remarks while reacting to the claims made by Mahmoud Nabavian, a former lawmaker and a critic of the landmark nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Nabavian has recently claimed that adoption of FATF standards will allegedly lead to the handover of Commander of Quds Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major-General Qasem Soleimani to Washington in exchange for removal of banking sanctions.

Rejecting the lawmaker’s claim, Qasemi said, “FATF is an international organization. It is not working under the US government and does not discuss financial issues related to individual people.”

“Extradition of convicts is a bilateral agreement between two countries, and the Islamic Republic does not have and will never ink such agreement with the US,” Qasemi stressed.

He said that such baseless accusations made by the critics of President Rouhani’s government will only damage the country’ economy and will be misused by the enemies.

The spokesman further pointed to the huge turnout of people in May 19 presidential and municipal elections in Iran and advised all political factions to give up hurting their rivals and instead focus on constructing the country.

Meanwhile, reacting to Nabavian’s claims, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on May 31 that the hard-liner lawmaker has to apologize for what he said.

Zarif described Nabavian’s surprising assertions as ‘shameful’ stressing that he would sue the lawmaker if he failed to apologize for his claims.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions. The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

According to its official website, In June 2016, FATF welcomed Iran’s adoption of, and high-level political commitment to, an Action Plan to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, and its decision to seek technical assistance in the implementation of the Action Plan.

Accordingly, in June 2016, the FATF suspended counter-measures for twelve months in order to monitor Iran’s progress in implementing the Action Plan. If Iran meets its commitments under the Action Plan in that time period, FATF will consider next steps in this regard.

According to the agreement, Iran will remain on the FATF Public Statement until the full Action Plan has been completed.