Finally, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) blacklisted Iran on February 21; after three years of warning and giving Tehran additional time.
In a statement, the FATF called for Iran to execute 10 articles, the most important of which was to identify and freeze the assets of terrorist groups in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions. FATF demanded the regime to express a transparent mechanism for reporting suspicious transactions to finance terrorist groups upon request. Ratification and implementation of the Palermo Convention on Combating Terrorism and Transparency of Iran’s Capacity for Legal Cooperation.
Iran did not sign the two last conventions and rejected the other articles of FATF’s statement on various excuses.
Implementation of FATF requirements on foreign financial exchanges would put the regime’s financial assistance to regional terrorism, and its support of proxy terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hashed al-Shabie and the Houthis in Yemen, etc., under the spotlight.
It will also block Iran from confronting and circumventing US sanctions. Enlisting Iran on FATF blacklist makes Iran a risky country to financially deal with, and FATF calls on its members and other countries to halt their economic activities and bilateral financial relations with Iran in order to prevent terrorist activities and money laundering. Until 2015 when FATF the blacklist was published, Iran and North Korea had been recognized as dangerous countries.
On June 20, 2018, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, meeting with Iranian parliamentarians on international conventions, said: “these treaties would first, be cooked in the think tanks of the great powers and for the benefit of their interests and then joined by their allies, submissive and intimidated governments. Then it takes on a seemingly international form so that if an independent country like Iran does not accept them, they will be aggressively attacked by them saying, for example, 150 countries accepted it, how come reject it? Khamenei did not publicly explain the correct approach to such conventions.
Now the question is that was Tehran’s goal in not signing this convention just to continue feeding foreign terrorists? The answer is No! Money laundering in the Mullahs’ regime is not related just to the outside of Iran but the smuggling of goods, currencies, drugs, human beings and financial kickbacks, led by the Revolutionary Guards Corps, has become a chronic political and economic problems in Iran, and day by day more news about it leaks in Iran. As far as we can tell the scope of this phenomenon has been more internal than external.
Ministry of Industry plays with figures to import cars, the disappearance of oil rigs, and the forging names of villages to the takeover of forests, hassle-free escape of an accused in case billions of dollars and illegal docks. Corruption in Iran has taken international observers by surprise.
The corruption in Iran under the supreme leader is so huge that in the 2016 presidential election all four of the main candidates approved by the Guardian Council – Hassan Rouhani, Eshagh Jahangiri, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and Ibrahim Raisi – have accused each other of corruption.
On February 13, 2020, Al-Arabiya TV channel reports that the Bahraini Prosecutor General has launched a judicial investigation into money laundering charges against individuals for Iran.
In this regard, the prosecutor will investigate the transaction of about $ 5 billion between Iran’s Melli and Saderat Banks and Bahrain’s Al-Mustaqbal.
On July 3, 2019, Ali Moayedi, head of the Central Office for Combating Trafficking goods and Currency, said, “In 2014, there were six million phony account numbers in the country that were active in money laundering and trafficking.”
Hemmati, the head of the central bank in response to Iran’s blacklisting said it does not make much difference for us because we were doing 90% of our transactions in other ways.
The consequences of this blacklisting in combination with Trump’s “Maximum pressure” policy is deadly for the regime.
Chairman of the board Joseph Lieberman and Mark Wallace CEO of Alliance Against Nuclear Iran’s said in a joint statement that today’s FATF action has significant effects on the rogue regimes and strengthens President Trump’s maximum pressure campaign.
“Financing global terrorism or an illicit nuclear program is not normal behavior, and no country can expect to continue to have access to the global banking the system,” the statement added.
For the Iranian regime, which is mired in economic, political, and social crises, closing this gap could be the last nail on its coffin and activate Europe to act against the regime, despite its desire.