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Iranian official: International conventions won’t have any benefits for the country

Iran, March 13, 2019 - As the controversy over approving the necessary bills to join the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF) rises, the cronies of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei are trying to blame Hassan Rouhani’s government for the current political impasse, international isolation, and economic miseries of the establishment.

On March 8, Tehran’s interim Friday prayer leader—Friday prayer leaders are always appointed by Ali Khamenei’s office and represent his faction’s views and policies throughout the country—Kazem Seddiqi ridiculed Rouhani’s promises to turn on factories and the economy while the nuclear centrifuges keep running and said: “Now, our nuclear [program] has been curbed with the JCPOA and the centrifuges are limited, but food on the tables hasn’t increased. They promised that they want them both to work, but unfortunately both turned out to nothing.”

A day later, state-run newspaper Ebtekar, close to Rouhani’s faction, responded to the onslaught on the so-called reformists in the Friday prayers throughout the country: “Yesterday’s Friday prayer podiums have been the focus of contempt and scorn for the government. It seems that ridiculing the government in every Friday prayer has become a principle for Hassan Rouhani’s opponents.”

“Some pundits describe the limbo that the FATF bills are facing as political and a means to paint Rouhani’s government as dysfunctional. They believe that the current opponents of the bills have been proponents of them in previous governments and pursued their approval,” the newspaper further wrote.

While the popular discontent with the current state of the economy increases in Iran, both sides of the political elite try to paint their opponents as the culprit of what is in fact the result of four decades of corruption by the whole power structure.

Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam, former member of the Iranian parliament and current member of the powerful Expediency Discernment Council where the fate of the FATF bills is under review, complained about the current sanctions and reiterated that the FATF bills will not be approved saying: “One of the money-laundering crimes is when an exchange is made where the seller and buyer are covers and not real. In order to circumvent the sanctions, we can’t help but having cover exchanges. We will create cover companies in Iran. We will create cover companies in other countries so that we can achieve our international exchanges by circumventing the sanctions. The meaning of joining these two bills, these two conventions is that we refrain from such exchanges. Can we do that? If we cannot do that under sanctions, then we can’t do that.”

“What is this insistence on the part of the president and the government and others and the media of a particular faction to put the Expediency Discernment Council to approve [the bills]? I say it from right here that no, we will decide based on the regime’s expediency, not fancies and whims,” he further said.

Mohammad Ali Nekunam, Khamenei’s representative in the Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province and the Friday prayer leader of Shahr-e Kord, expressed his concerns about sequels to the JCPOA and said: “Some people exaggerate the JCPOA to bring about the next JCPOAs. Unfortunately, it has been seen that some have taken action to bring about the second and third JCPOA and wanted to cede regarding the missile program and the human rights as Western countries want it and they would have brought difficulties upon the regime.”

In the important city of Isfahan, Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, the city’s Friday prayer Imam said: “We should also be wary about the enemy’s tricks for the people.”

“Enslaving international conventions won’t have any benefits for the country,” he added.

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