Analysis by PMOI/MEK
March 6, 2019 - Fights and quarrels among Iranian officials over Europe’s financial mechanism, also called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), continues as the Iranian regime is trying to choose the less devastating option between joining the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and not.
The regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and his faction believe that Europe’s half measure financial mechanism will give their theocracy’s crumbling economy a much-needed respite. But the opponents of Europe’s mechanism, especially since it has been linked to Iran’s acceptance of FATF’s standards, believe that complying with Europe’s demands in order to pave the way for INSTEX amounts to surrender.
Meanwhile, some figures among both factions beg Europe to make some concessions so that approving the FATF bills appears reasonable.
Seyed Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, spokesperson of Majlis (parliament) commission on national security and foreign policy, says: “There is no doubt that trust-building behavior by Europeans can be constructive but hasn’t happened yet.”
Mohsen Rezaee, former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and current secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, begs Europe to help the Iranian regime by providing an exit out of its current dead-end.
“Europeans’ behavior will also have an impact on the members of the [Expediency] Council. Generally, we are not happy with the behavior of the Europeans. In the JCPOA there are important commitments that need to be addressed, including buying and selling oil and founding bank branches. Anyway, Europeans’ behavior can have an impact on the views of members of the Council,” he said to reporters on March 2.
It’s noteworthy that both the remaining FATF bills are currently stuck in the Expediency Council and await their fate. Mohsen Rezaee is clearly baiting the mullahs’ foreign lobby to do more to save the theocracy.
On the other hand, some of the political elite are disappointed with Europe’s mechanism.
On March 1, in an interview with Mehr news agency, former Iranian ambassador to France, Hamidreza Assefi, said about INSTEX: “I think Europe is killing time, since they didn’t respect their commitments in JCPOA, so they are trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.”
“Europeans imagined their interests to be in moving according to U.S. policies without paying a price to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he further said.
On March 2, Mashregh News website published an article about INSTEX and wrote about German ambassador to Tehran’s comments about the necessity to approve the FATF bills to implement the European mechanism: “The real issue here is that the FATF plan has been made a necessity for implementing INSTEX. In fact, Germany’s ambassador considers FATF a necessary procedure. Although he denies any kind of conditions, but in a sense, he proves the criticism of FATF opponents that approving the Financial Action Task Force’s program is a condition for implementing INSTEX.”
Yahya Ale Eshaq, former minister of commerce in the government of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, considers INSTEX ineffective and says to Fars news agency: “This special financial channel is defined in a way that the money that enters this channel is spent on buying non-sanctioned goods, including food and medication, while there isn’t any money in this channel [in the first place].”
“There is no mechanism to move money to this channel,” he adds.
Hassan Rouhani knows very well that while each attack against opponents of the FATF bills will weaken the whole regime’s power structure, the financial results of INSTEX that he is hoping for won’t be much and will never mitigate the current economic misery that the Islamic Republic faces.
Nonetheless, he attacked the expediency council on February 26 in the 58th general assembly of Iran’s Central Bank and said: “It isn’t right to say that it has no [economic] impact if the remaining [FATF] bills are approved. We should consider the world a little bit smart and reasonable. All the countries of the world are part of the financial group [FATF]; You mean, none of them are smart and reasonable? The government, parliament, and Guardian Council of Iran aren’t reasonable? You can’t put the country in the hands of 10 to 20 people and say we’ll follow whatever decision they make.”
But can you put the fate of 80 million people in the hands of one man called the by-god-chosen Supreme Leader and say we’ll follow whatever decision he’ll make?
I think not!
Everybody knows that in order to be allowed to run for president, you must commit to following the Supreme Leader in “practice and heart.”
Let’s keep the rules consistent and play the game you’ve been playing with the Iranian people for four decades to the end. There end of this tunnel has already become visible.