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FATF blacklists Iran’s regime over terrorism financing

Iran has been blacklisted by FATF, the global money-laundering and anti-terrorism financing watchdog
Iran has been blacklisted by FATF, the global money-laundering and anti-terrorism financing watchdog

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, February 22, 2020—The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) re-imposed countermeasures against the Iranian regime on Friday, following through on warnings issued back in October 2019. The mullahs have been, since 2015, cautioned to take action and complete an agreed plan to address concerns raised over their regime's money laundering and financing of terror groups across the Middle East and beyond. This drastic decision leaves Iran further isolated financially and its reintegration into the global financial system even more difficult than ever before.

These FATF measures come at a time when China, an ally of the mullahs’ regime in Tehran, currently holds the rotating presidency. Countermeasures against Iran were temporarily suspended by FATF since 2016. While provided more time to meet the necessary FATF standards, the Iranian regime used this time window to funnel money rendered from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to support terror groups such as Hezbollah.

Following this period, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom – the countries involved in parallel attempts to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – realized Iran has no intention of meeting FATF standards and Tehran has made a long-term decision to defy these demands. It is worth noting that these countries had actively supported extending the deadline for the Iranian regime, in line with their ongoing policies of appeasement vis-à-vis Tehran’s mullahs.

The FATF designation is a crystal-clear warning to bank and corporate risk managers to reevaluate relations and any connection with the regime’s financial sector. It is now a grave risk – and may result in high costs – to do business with any Iranian bank, an insurance company or other financial institutions. This is regardless of these entities being sanctioned or not.

It is worth noting that Tehran’s history of defying FATF demands has come with consequences. Even if Tehran does ratify the required legislation, now becoming extremely unlikely, “FATF will decide on the next steps, including whether to suspend countermeasures,” the organization said in its recent statement.

The regime in Iran is known to openly fund terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Houthis in Yemen and extremist militia groups in Iraq. Iran has also allowed al-Qaeda facilitators to conduct a pipeline through Iran since at least 2009, according to U.S. State Department Country Reports on Terrorism since 2012, effectively enabling the terrorist group to transfer funds and move members to various countries across the region.

"The decision by FATF to again blacklist the terrorist, religious dictatorship ruling Iran is an extremely necessary, albeit long overdue, step in combatting terrorism and money laundering worldwide," said Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Mrs. Rajavi also stressed that since the 2016 removal of the Iranian regime from the FATF blacklist, it's terrorist and belligerent meddling in the region have expanded at a frantic pace, once again proving that granting concessions to the ruling theocracy will never change its behavior.

The FATF countermeasures come at a time when the mullahs’ regime in Iran is already under severe pressure from U.S. sanctions following Washington’s decision to exit the JCPOA. Heavy sanctions have been imposed on the regime’s oil exports and other branches of Iran’s economy have come under near-full control of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The fact that the Iranian regime refuses to abide by FATF standards and says no to relief from financial pressures is quite telling. Tehran is desperately maintaining its financial channels to fund terror groups at all costs. This once again proves that the mullahs’ regime is established on the two pillars of the domestic crackdown and exporting terrorism and reactionism abroad.