FNA – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi blasted the Europeans for setting conditions to implement their declared mechanism for trade with Iran (Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges), stressing that they should not link INSTEX to the FATF.
“Europe should not link INSTEX to issues like the FATF. This mechanism is among the essential duties of Europe to continue (implementation of) the (2015) nuclear deal and if there is any condition or prerequisite, it should be raised by Iran (and not Europe),” Qassemi told FNA on Monday.
He explained that the European states, which were interested in their own and Iran’s continued commitment to the nuclear deal, accepted undertakings to meet Tehran’s interests of the nuclear deal through special means after the US withdrawal.
“Unfortunately, for different reasons the three European states and the 4+1 (Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany) could not implement this mechanism in due time and timely,” Qassemi said.
He also expressed regret that after over 8 months, the structure has just been registered “but the mechanisms, their quality, the way to implement them and the form of exchanges are not so much clear yet”.
Qassemi criticized Europe for its failure to accomplish its stated undertakings in a shorter period of time.
He called on Europe to act upon its undertakings more quickly, and said, “We consider this as a first step which is undoubtedly an important and positive step and we hope that Europe will act more seriously in dealing with the next steps in the near future.”
Qassemi said that Iran is not happy with Europe’s delay in this regard and has had much more expectations, adding, “We believed that Europe should have been capable enough to launch this mechanism in a much shorter time irrespective of external pressures and internal problems. Basically, there was to be and there should have been no such connection established between this mechnism and other issues such as the FATF, at all. This mechanism has been one of their essential duties to have the nuclear deal continue and if there is anyone to set conditions, sure it would be Iran.”
“We think that given its insistence on Iran’s continued commitment to the nuclear deal and its willingness to keep the nuclear deal, Europe should comply with its nuclear deal undertakings towards Iran as stated in its late May statement and compensate for the US withdrawal in any way and form possible, otherwise it would be hard to keep the status quo running and stable,” he said.
“If Europe does not remain committed to its undertakings based on the nuclear deal, the conditions will change and high-ranking Iranian officials will decide what to do next,” Qassemi concluded.
In a news meeting in Bucharest late Thursday, German, British and French foreign ministers officially announced the commissioning of the European special financial mechanism known as INSTEX.
In reaction, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said that the special financial mechanism for trade with Iran launched by the UK, France, and Germany is a first step which should be followed by quicker implementation of the EU’s May 2018 undertakings.
In relevant remarks on Friday, a key member of Iran’s Expediency Council stressed that the EC would continue discussions over the fate of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo) without being influenced by Europeans’ request for the approval of the convention as a prerequisite for the operation of the INSTEX.
“EU’s Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV, recently renamed as INSTEX) will not influence the Expediency Council’s decision on the approval (or disapproval) of Palermo convention,” former Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, also a member of the Expediency Council and the current president of the National Defense University, told reporters in Tehran on Friday.
“The EU’s yesterday move was only a small part of the European states’ undertakings with regard to Iran under the nuclear deal (JCPOA); and of course, the fate of this minimum undertaking is still not clear in terms of action,” he continued.
He underlined that Palermo Convention should be further examined, and said, “The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations threaten Iran’s economy and it is a framework adopted by the global arrogance to impose restrictions on Iran and pursue the sanctions re-imposed against Tehran in smarter ways.”
Palermo bill is one of the four government bills seeking to bring Iran’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing standards into line with those defined by the FATF.
The parliament has approved all the measures but except for the bill that updates Iran’s domestic law on countering financing of terrorism. All the rest have been rejected by the Guardian Council – a watchdog that ensures laws are in line with the Constitution and Sharia.
The bills on Iran’s accession to the Palermo Convention and the convention against the funding of terrorism (CFT) were rejected by the Guardian Council in early November due to some flaws that violated the country’s Constitution. The bills were then amended by the Iranian Parliament, waiting for the next steps in the Guardian Council.
To fulfill FATF requirements, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has proposed four bills to the parliament for approval, two of which are still undecided, including the Palermo Convention. They have been referred to the Expediency Council for final approval.
Yet, Iran has recently approved a national anti-money laundering (AML), which was a domestically-developed bill.
In its October meeting, the FATF decided to extend the deadline for Iran until February to complete reforms under the specified action plan that includes a list of 9 major moves, including the opening of its financial transactions data bank to the FATF that is headed by the US Department of the Treasury’s Assistant Secretary heading the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Marshall Billingslea.
The Political-Defense-Security and Legal-Judicial Commissions of the EC declared last month that endorsement of the Palermo bill would run against the country’s interests.
Also, on Monday, Iran’s Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani blasted the European states’ conditions for implementation of their declared mechanism for trade with Iran, describing them as “humiliating”.
“The Europeans have created a mechanism with limited capacity after 9 months of procrastination and negotiations not for money transactions but for supplying food and drugs,” Amoli Larijani said, addressing the judiciary officials in Tehran.
He added that the Europeans who claimed to be supporting the 2015 nuclear deal after the US withdrawal had set two surprising conditions for implementation of the INSTEX, noting that one of them is Iran’s accomplishment of FATF action plan and another one is negotiations on Tehran’s missile power.
“These countries should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept these humiliating conditions at all,” Amoli Larijani underscored.