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Iran: Internal disputes flare over FATF financial

The FATF crisis is escalating to new levels for Iran
The FATF crisis is escalating to new levels for Iran

Reporting by PMO/MEK

Iran, October 24, 2019—Recent remarks made by Iranian regime First Vice President Es’hagh Jahangiri claiming the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has agreed to all outstanding resolutions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) supervising over the regime’s financial and banking transactions was welcomed by fierce remarks from members of the rival faction close to Khamenei.

As we speak, Tehran faces a deadline imposed by the Paris-based FATF for February 2020 and the threat of being blacklisted and placed under suffocating banking restrictions. On the other hand, the regime’s Guardian Council, known to be under Khamenei’s strict control, has turned down the FATF resolutions and the regime’s Expediency Council is also in line with this policy. Jahangiri, however, is demanding the ratification of these bills.

“We have sent two bills covering the FATF to the Expediency Council. This body should hold open-door sessions regarding the Palermo and CFT (the convention combatting financing of terrorism) for us to see them discussing this subject and why they are rejecting these resolutions. The people should watch and see what is going on and why they are saying no. These resolutions have been adopted two or three times in sessions held by the heads of the three government branches. These two bills are quite necessary for the country. On both occasions that we adopted these bills [Khamenei] also gave his approval. These bills are referring to internal matters, yet they have remained in limbo. You can’t tie up a person’s arms and legs and ask them to swim,” Jahangiri said on Tuesday, October 22.

There is no question that the mullahs’ regime is kicking the can down the road when it comes to the FATF.

 

 

In an interesting turn of events, Expediency Council member Mesbahi Moghadam denied the claims made by Jahangiri. “There have been no new developments in the Expediency Council regarding these resolutions and Khamenei has not issued any orders to us on this matter,” he said.

Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh, a member of the Majlis (parliament) board of directors also lashed at Jahangiri’s claims. “If the FATF bills have been adopted in the sessions held by heads of the three branches and gained Khamenei’s approval, the Majlis speaker would have most certainly raised the issue in our meetings. There are no indications backing this claim,” he explained.

Kayhan daily, known as Khamenei’s mouthpiece in Iranian state media, made the issue crystal clear. “Various supporters of the FATF bills are attempting to impose their viewpoints and even lies by claiming they have [Khamenei]’s approval in this regard.” Khamenei is against these bills and these measures by the faction close to Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani is “immoral and deceptive,” according to the piece. “This current does not seek the state’s interests. In fact, they are pursuing other objectives.”

Yaser Jebraili, an advisor to former Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) chief Mohsen Rezaie who now is a senior member of Expediency Council, further deepened the regime’s internal divides. “The false claims made by Jahangiri about [Khamenei] is the exact same method used in the keyword of the Khamenei giving his approval for the 2015 nuclear deal,” he said.

 

 

In a media interview, an expert close to the Rouhani faction, shed further light on the fact that Jahangiri’s remarks are nothing but lies. “I repeat once again that the Islamic Republic, following the terrorist designation of the IRGC, sees no importance or value in the FATF, the concerning resolutions and the four-month deadline before us. There are no plans to approve these bills,” he said.

Internal divides reaching the most senior ranks of the mullahs’ regime will have damning consequences in the near future.

The FATF bills are meant to keep global markets safe. But clearly, the regime is wasting time by ball-handling the bills between its many different organizations, trying to create the impression that it is working toward resolving the issue while not taking action. What's for sure is that any international standard that makes the regime's financial system more transparent and subject to oversight will be a blow to the mullahs' machinery of financing their illicit activities, circumventing global sanctions, funding terror groups and the likes of the brutal Assad regime in Syria.

 

 

Hossein Mozaffar, a member of the Expediency Council, had previously made it clear that it is not in the regime's interests to become conformant with FATF standards on the same day that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his statements about Tehran's failure to meet its commitments. “The kind of transparency that FATF seeks … is to find out our ways for bypassing sanctions,” Mozaffar said. “For a country under sanctions, it is a very unwise move to show our hands and let them see and block all our strategies.”

There is another very important aspect to the FATF laws that the ruling elite doesn’t like the public to learn about. Just like the JCPOA, complying with anti-money laundering laws and more importantly the terrorism-combating-nature of FATF-compliance contrasts with the Islamic Republic’s philosophy and nature.

The Islamic Republic is founded on the Idea of exporting revolution (read death and destruction) to the world, especially the Islamic world. Like the medieval crusades, this characteristic helps it to avoid internal inconsistencies and problems and helps it to cover them through outside upheaval.

Depriving the ruling mullahs of Iran of the free hand they need to distribute petrodollars among terrorists is equal to condemning them to a slow and painful death.

Both the conservatives and the fake moderates know this rule by heart. Their difference is only about how to handle a dead-end.

There is a famous Persian proverb that says, to suicide out of fear of death, and that’s what Iranian officials are concerned about.

 

 

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