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Iran: Fight over FATF continues in the aftermath of IRGC blacklisting

The FATF continues to hang over the mullahs’ neck
The FATF continues to hang over the mullahs’ neck

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, April 15, 2019 - Since the U.S. government blacklisted the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, the regime in Iran has attempted to pretend this move has rendered a rally around the flag effect, among its different factions, against a common enemy.

However, the truth is far from it and the crises-riddled Islamic Republic and its political elite face a growing number of controversies that cannot go overlooked.

One of these crises is the fate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or rather approving the necessary bills that allow Iran to join the de facto world body for financial transparency.

Ahmad Tavakoli, close to the Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s faction and a member of the Expediency Discernment Council where the fate of the FATF bills is under review, said “approving FATF is canceled” due to the IRGC blacklisting.

He then attacked FATF proponents who advocate conceding to the U.S.

“[Approving the FATF] must be canceled because as much as we concede, they will be further emboldened. The FATF is not related to ballistic missiles and things like that at all, yet they address it as it is. In this very last statement, they said we shouldn’t build missiles and meddle even with the range of our missiles,” he explained.

“The more we concede to the U.S., the more we will lose. I say now that the chances of FATF’s approval have decreased,” Tavakoli added.

Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam is a former member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) and a current member of the Expediency Council.

“What the U.S. did by designating the IRGC as terrorists has increased chances of the FATF not being approved in the Expediency Council,” he said. “What the U.S. did shows America’s great animosity toward the Islamic Revolution. Describing the IRGC which is the true embodiment of the Islamic Revolution and is trusted has a clear meaning.”

Majid Ansari is an Iranian politician from the so-called moderate faction close to regime president Hassan Rouhani. “The FATF bills are not related to the U.S.,” he said. “These bills need to be reviewed again by [Majlis] commissions and members needs to attend the council to express their opinions so that you can establish an opinion about the issue.”

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, chair of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Relations Committee of the parliament, also weighed in. “The fate of Palermo and CFT need to be decided in a calm and scientific mood. A political approach and negativism must be avoided,” he said.

Falahatpisheh attends Expediency Council meetings discussing FATF bills.

“In the [Persian] new year we are waiting for the council to hold meetings. Currently, these reviews are happening in a detailed and scientific manner. All members of the council have decided to review [the bills] in detail and scientifically. Therefore, we need to wait for the meeting to be held, so the final fate of the bills is decided,” he added.

“Currently, instigating negativism against these bills and adopting political approach about it is not in the interests of the country,” he warned competing factions.

Reza Ansari, an Iranian pundit close to Rouhani’s faction, warns: “Blacklisting the IRGC is a trap.”

“By setting this trap, Washington intends to bait Iran into harsh and angry decisions—such as abandoning the JCPOA—in order to pave the way for a new consensus against the country,” he added.

“Currently, the best gift for the hardliners is unnecessary self-harm such as boycotting the FATF bills, losing one’s ‘strategic patience’, and embarking on ill-advised action that the thinkers and propaganda machine of the warmongering party can capitalize on,” he further warned.

As evident, far from uniting the opposing factions, the IRGC FTO designation has only added to the already blazing controversy of joining the FATF. While the quarrel between FATF proponents and opponents continues to rage, blacklisting the IRGC simply translates into new ammunition for both sides.

Khamenei’s thugs argue that considering the IRGC terror labeling, the intentions of the U.S., and the West in general, are clear, the controversy should be put aside and approving the bills is out of the question.

On the other hand, Rouhani’s minions argue that the IRGC blacklisting is just another important factor why they should actually join the FATF, avoiding further playing into the hands of their enemies by providing more excuses for a broader international consensus against the mullahs’ regime of Iran