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FATF Week in Paris and an uptick in tensions between political factions in Iran

There is an increasing gap between the political factions in Iran for joining the FATF
There is an increasing gap between the political factions in Iran for joining the FATF

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Oct. 18, 2018 - While the FATF Week has started in Paris to discuss and further the global combat of financing terrorism, an increasingly vocal rift is visible between the warring political factions of the Iranian regime on whether the Islamic Republic should join the FATF or not.

Among the cases scheduled to be reviewed in this week’s FATF summit is Iran’s dossier.


Last chance to exit the black list

The FATF Week started on Sunday 14 October and will continue until Friday 19. Over 800 officials representing more than 200 jurisdictions, the IMF, UN, World Bank and others have gathered in Paris to discuss more than hundred papers on a range of important issues to protect the integrity of the global financial system to improve safety and security across the world.

And while the progress of Iran and other countries—which in FATF’s words present “a risk to the financial system”—looms large on this week’s agenda of the global anti-money laundering body, the fate of three out of the four laws that are necessary to avoid being black listed is still unclear.

Mardomsalary newspaper from Hassan Rouhani’s faction writes: “This is the last chance to remove the Islamic Republic from this organization’s black list. Out of the four bills regarding FATF in Iran, three haven’t yet been approved and the danger of remaining in the black list still threatens Iran. If [these three bills] don’t get approved and finalized this week by the Guardian Council and Expediency Council, Islamic Republic’s name won’t be removed from FATF’s black list. With United States’ new sanctions starting November, this can create a more difficult situation for [the regime] in doing economic and banking exchanges.”

After months of bickering, internal fights, and back-and-forth in the Iranian regime’s parliament, the Guardian Council and the Expediency Council, and threats and counter threats, all the four bills known as the Palermo bills have been passed by the Iranian regime’s parliament.

According to the Islamic Republic’s law, the Guardian Council needs to approve the remaining bills for them to become law. The Guardian Council is controlled by Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader.

Some experts believe that Ali Khamenei wants to approve the bills to avoid further isolation in face of the new oil sanctions, although it would amount to shooting himself in the foot. Doing so would also jeopardize a vast network of illicit activities that the IRGC and other factions close to the Supreme Leader are accustomed to benefit from.


Circumventing the sanctions with FATF would be impossible

According to Alef, a website close to Khamenei, a group of clerics have gathered in Qom, Iran’s religious capital, to protest the new FATF bills: “Saturday afternoon, clerics gathered in Qom to protest the bills for joining the International Convention for Suppression of Financing of Terrorism. Zolnur, member of parliament’s committee for security spoke in the gathering and said: ‘Signing FATF makes circumventing the sanctions nearly impossible.’”

Meanwhile, news outlets close to Khamenei’s factions published a list of MPs who haven’t signed the bill for joining the Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (CFT) and said that those who signed the bill are traitors.


We will sanction the IRGC and Quds Force by ourselves

Hossein Shariatmadary, Khamenei’s representative in Keyhan newspaper wrote: “This article is directed at the Guardian Council and it is about the dangerous task it has in face of the so-called Countering Financing of Terrorism ACT (CFT)… it’s the prevention of the danger that the final approval of this convention can force upon the people and the regime.”

Alehashem, Khameni’s representative in Tabriz said: “These bills have a well and beautiful look but in a sense it’s like self-inflicted sanction. We are going to sanction the Quds Force by ourselves. The JCPOA was like this too.”