Tasnim – Iran’s administration issued an official statement about the Financial Action Task Force’s recent decision to put the country on its blacklist, describing the move as the result of provocations and political motivations from certain ill-wishers of Iran.
Following is the text of the statement, released by the Iranian administration at a Wednesday session of the cabinet:
“1. Iran’s anti-terrorism policy is based upon the justice-seeking and peaceful nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Establishment, and is being seriously enforced in all arenas, including the fight against financing of terrorism, and our motivation for pursuing all measures against money-laundering and financing of terrorism are demanded by our people and our domestic laws and regulations which have been ratified during various terms of the Parliament and the Administration.
2. Accordingly, we have also welcomed cooperation with the other countries in this field, and have approved the implementation of the regulations accepted by the world countries and the international standards in this regard which have been in line with our internal laws and regulations and for the country’s benefit.
3. Placing Iran in the list of non-cooperative countries (blacklist), either during the tenth administration or in this term, has undoubtedly taken place with the provocations and political motivations from certain ill-wishers of Iran. However, Iran’s technical and expert handling under the 11th Administration, which resulted in the confirmation of Iran’s action plan, foiled the provocations in that stage.
4. Since Iran has always believed in fighting against money-laundering and against financing of terrorism, the road for cooperation with the FATF and the agreement on implementing the work plan had been ratified since the tenth Administration with the efforts by the Supreme National Security Council and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, and had been put on the Administration’s agenda.
5. Following the change of Administration and the activation of the exit from sanctions diplomacy, the Administration was actively present in this international body (FATF) as well, and proposed its activities in the fight against money-laundering and sponsoring of terrorism, which led to a change in the status of Iran and gave a two-year time limit on international interaction.
6. In this interval, the Administration carried out whatever possible in the action plan that was within the purview of the executive power, and also adopted and ratified four bills, which were among the very important items of the “action plan”, and submitted them to the Parliament. The Parliament also ratified those bills with some modifications. The Guardian Council sent back one of the bills, namely the bill on countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), to the Parliament after making a number of objections. Ultimately, the case was referred to the Expediency Council as the Parliament was not convinced of the reason for putting that important bill on hold; and there, this major issue has been shelved after a year since being put forward, because the (Expediency) Council has not made a decision on it.
7. Unfortunately, the other important bill, namely the bill on joining the anti-money laundering convention, which had been practically finalized after the Parliament addressed the objections raised by the Guardian Council, was put on the (Expediency) Council’s agenda without any disagreement between the Parliament and the Guardian Council, but this bill has been also shelved without any decision after one year.
8. The Administration has held and still holds the belief that while the ill-wishers of Iran, spearheaded by the US government, are plotting to recruit allies to once again form a front against Iran, we must double our efforts to express the law-abiding, disciplined and anti-terrorism image of Iran; and giving the enemies any wrong pretext would help their anti-Iranian plots.”
The FATF voted on February 21 to keep Iran on its blacklist for what it said failing to comply with international anti-terrorism financing norms.
Last October, Iran’s parliament approved four bills put forward by the government to meet standards set by the FATF.
Only two of them have so far gone into effect and the fate of the two others, one on Iran’s accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the other one a bill amending Iran’s Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) law, is still in limbo.
FATF’s proponents have said the measure would smooth the path for Iran’s increased financial transactions with the rest of the world and help remove the country from investment blacklists.
Opponents, however, say membership in the FATF will only make the country vulnerable to outside meddling.
They say Iran’s implementation of FATF standards so far has not only failed to attract investment, but it has also exposed various institutions to extraterritorial regulations and penalties.
The FATF cannot impose sanctions, but individual states that are its members have used the group’s reports to take punitive measures against their adversaries. As a result, Iran has been targeted by US and European sanctions.
Iran has already been implementing a domestic anti-money laundering law as part of its efforts toward financial transparency. Additionally, it has long been combating terror financing.