Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Feb. 8, 2019 - On February 1, The EU announced its long-anticipated creation INSTEX. Short for Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, the company is co-managed by France, Germany, and the UK, and was initially supposed to help set up an alternative trade route for companies to buy Iranian goods (mainly raw oil) and sell the country whatever it wants without fearing the wrath of U.S. sanctions.
But the resulting INSTEX, which isn’t even operational yet, turns out to be a malnourished feliformia branded as a tiger.
At first, the faction of Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani, who really needed something to show for themselves and had gambled a lot of capital on Europe to rescue the mullahs’ dictatorship, welcomed the measure, but as the details INSTEX became known, they too started to express their reservations.
Europe has conditioned the operation of INSTEX to Iran passing the FATF bills, which made the Iranian mullahs furious. FATF is the de facto world ant–money laundering and ant–terrorism financing body, two things that are bread and butter to the theocracy sitting in Tehran.
On February 4, while in parliament to introduce his new minister of health and medical education, Rouhani used the opportunity to raise the issue of the remaining two FATF-related bills and asked the parliament to pass the anti-money laundering bill that the government has proposed.
Mashregh News website writes that Rouhani considered the parliamentary session on the new minister “the best opportunity to talk about and endorse the FATF related bills and thus asks the Expediency Council to pass the remaining to bills as soon as possible.”
After Rouhani’s foreign minister Javad Zarif attended a meeting by the security commission of the Iranian parliament, state-run ISNA news agency quoted Ali Najafi, the commission’s spokesperson, saying: “In the meeting, the foreign minister, while denying any connection between INSTEX and FATF, said that we don’t accept such a connection and we have even protested that the late measure by Europe to present this mechanism can’t be conditioned.”
Zarif further said that “This mechanism is a positive preliminary step on the part of the European Union to keep Iran’s interests in JCPOA and we are waiting for its executive and operational phases to complete.”
Looking at Rouhani and Zarif’s remarks and actions, one can safely assume at least two things:
- Behind the scenes, the Iranian regime is really concerned about the outcome of FATF and has already accepted that Europe’s feline is in the CCU before being even born and thus is trying to abide to its rules and conditions.
- The Iranian regime fears to show its weak hand and position and is turning its confrontational, albeit hollow, rhetoric louder.
While Rouhani was trying to persuade the parliament to pass the FATF bills, his spokesperson for the foreign ministry said: “There wasn’t supposed to be a connection between INSTEX and FATF. This mechanism is among Europe’s fundamental obligations to keep the JCPOA going and if there is someone who can condition anything, it’s Iran.”
Truth is that the Iranian regime finds itself in a dead-end when it comes to anti-money laundering laws. Regardless of whether Iran chooses to pass the FATF laws or not, and consequently is blacklisted by the anti-money laundering body or not, the consequences are a double-edged sword for the mullahs in Tehran.
If the Iranian regime conforms to international financial transparency standards, its main business and strategic asset, especially in the Middle East, is vaporized with one stroke of the pen. The Islamic Republic’s philosophy is founded in exporting death and destruction to other countries, branded as revolution and Islam. Think the medieval Catholic Church and the crusades, but in its 21st-century form, and you get the general idea of what’s happening with Iran reaching its tentacle like an octopus to far reaching lands.
And if it doesn’t pass the laws, FATF will blacklist Iran and even China and Russia will have a hard time to continue trading with the country.
Already facing as crumbling economy suffering from four decades of mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, and kleptocracy, the thin layer of legitimacy the Iranian mullahs managed to retain for themselves is fast vanishing. And facing the FATF dead-end, opposing ruling factions are reaching for one another’s throats.