Mesbahi-Moghadam: Accepting FATF is synonymous with ‘distortion’

Tehran Times – Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam, a member of the Expediency Council, has said that any talk about accepting the FATF (the Financial Action Task Force) is a “distortion” of the country’s power.

“Those who like the FATF should know this is a trap. Talking about accepting it is a distortion of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power in countering the United States’ cruel sanctions,” he told the Tasnim news agency in an interview published on Sunday.

He added, “Economic flourishing by accepting the FATF is example of distortion and wrong address.”

The cleric trained in economy noted that joining the FATF would have nothing but harms against the country.

The Paris-based FATF placed Iran on its blacklist in February after Iran refused to comply with the watchdog’s requirements.

Opposition to join the FATF grew after the U.S. abrogated the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed the harshest ever sanctions in history against Iran.

According to Reuters, the FATF appeared to leave the door ajar for Iran saying “countries should also be able to apply countermeasures independently of any call by the FATF to do so.”

Mesbahi-Moghadam said in March that there is no term like “blacklist” in the FATF and Iran has been put on the list of “non-cooperative” countries.

“There is no term as blacklist in the FATF. At this juncture, we have been put on the list of non-cooperative countries again,” he told ISNA in an interview.

He also said that Iran has observed 39 out of 41 recommendations of the FATF which have had no benefits for the country.

The government of President Hassan Rouhani, in a 9-paragraph statement in February, urged the Expediency Council to remove the existing barriers in the way of approving the CFT and Palermo bills, two steps needed to join the FATF.

The previous parliament voted in favor of the CFT in October 2018 but it was rejected by the Guardian Council even after parliament made some amendments. According to law, when the parliament and the Guardian Council fail to agree on a bill, the issue is referred to the Expediency Council for arbitration.

The government’s statement says approval of the bills will prevent the enemies to invent more excuses to put more pressure on the country.

In the statement, the government laid emphasis on removal of any obstacle in ratifying the bills, noting that the government will do its best to solve the problem and improve the situation to prevent imposition of more losses on the country’s national interests.

Rouhani said on February 23 that Iran has been a forerunner in fighting money laundering and did not deserve to be blacklisted by the FATF.

“The great Iranian people and the Islamic Republic of Iran did not and do not deserve to be placed on an international body’s countermeasures list while it [the country] is forerunner in fighting terrorism and money laundering,” the president said during a cabinet meeting.

He added, “We made efforts to prevent being introduced by the United States and the Zionist regime as violator of these measures while we are forerunner in fighting terrorism and money laundering.”

Being blacklisted by the FATF is against the Iranian people’s interests, the president remarked.