FATF is against independent nations: Iranian economist

IRNA – The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a leverage used by the United States and its allies to confront independent nations, said the chairman of the economic committee of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations.

Ebrahim Sheibani, in a recent exclusive interview with the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), posited that despite the fact that FATF is a tool in the hands of Washington and its allies, it should not be viewed as black or white issue.

‘We can act on some of the recommendations of the [intergovernmental] body,’ Sheibani said, adding that some of the FATF’s recommendations, though, could not be followed by Iran or other countries either.

The Iranian economist said that the US is not expected to give up FATF as a tool under its control.

‘FATF is comprised of 35 or 36 member states but they try to give a global aspect to their recommendations, and the United States, in particular, benefits substantially from this trend,’ Sheibani argued.

He also said that as a bank expert he believed that the US remains to be high on the list of global money launderers.

Frankly speaking, I believe that the US is a country infested with money launderers, he said.

But nobody could track this because all the deals are made bsed on dollar and there is no one to monitor monetary transactions conducted by the US, Sheibani said.

That is why the world nations are forming financial alliances to end the dollar hegemony, he said.

‘Presently, almost 50 nations have considered setting up financial alliances to conduct transactions using their national currencies,’ Sheibani said.

Some of these countries, he added, ‘gradually gained power and started to distance themselves from dollar-based transactions, doing business with their own national currencies.’

Such financial alliances are expected to be successful and Iran can rely on them to promote its foreign trade, Sheibani stressed.

‘Iran, along with India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, is now a member to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) which makes its settlements first based on national currencies and then with dollar,’ Sheibani said.

He added that other countries including South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand and Indonesia, as well as some of the European countries, have joined similar financial alliances.

Euro is now turning to be a major currency to vie against dollar, and even China’s Yuan and Russia’s Ruble are increasingly gaining importance, he said.

But he stressed, if members of such financial alliances are to make them prevail, they should adapt their economies.

Returning to the issue of FATF and its approaches and functions, the Iranian economist and former governor of the Central Bank of Iran criticized the requirements of the inter-governmental body as being far-reaching and bullish.

‘They require us to approve laws, provide reports on the financial operations of legal persons and individuals, asking for every single detail, and alleging that they do all these for transparency and for creating an appropriate and secure environment for everybody,’ Sheiban said.

‘But as I mentioned earlier, they are using FATF as a leverage to confront our country,’ he stressed.

According to the Iranian economist, parts of FATF’s obligations and requirements ‘are negotiable’.

‘I took my time and studied the requirements and found part of it rather ironic,’ Sheibani said.

FATF alleges that it has introduced effective, appropriate and preemptive penalties for those involved in money laundering, he said.

‘We accept such measures and follow FATF’s recommendations in this regard,’ said the chairman of the economic committee of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, adding that the Iranian Parliament has also approved anti money laundering laws.

Iran is against money laundering and terrorism; The country has never provided terrorists with financial support, he emphasized.

‘So, part of FATF’s recommendations and requirements are not acceptable and Iran has called for them to be modified, including the requirements pertaining to confronting financial support for terrorism,’ he said.

‘There are groups that are fighting against foreign occupation, arrogant powers and racism and Iran has called on FATF members to modify its approach in this regard,’ he said.

‘For instance, there is the Lebanese Hezbollah, a very neat and straight group of fighters defending the country,’ Sheibani said.

‘Naturally Iran cannot designate as terrorists fighters who are standing against arrogant powers and occupiers,’ he stressed, adding that Iran does not recognize interpretations by FATF in this regard.

The Iranian economist said that he was ‘neither optimistic nor too pessimistic about FATF.’

‘It should be something in between,’ he said.

‘In general, FATF is a means to keep us under control.’