Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, April 24, 2019 - In Iran, the fate of bills related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) remain a subject of controversy and infighting between the two factions of the political elite of the regime ruling Iran, while the terrorist designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) by the U.S. State Department has pushed the issue further in a crisis.
Both factions argue the IRGC’s blacklisting proves that their particular approach is the best for the future of the ruling theocracy in Iran.
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, a former member of the IRGC and former mayor of Tehran, who was previously opposed to the FATF bills, has now changed sides.
Ghalibaf, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, where the fate of the aforementioned bills is under review, acknowledged the current pressure on the ruling mullahs. “We can’t walk by the U.S. and other issues like FATF and ignore them. Their pressure is real anyway and increases day after day,” he said.
He reiterated that not joining FATF under the current circumstances is not in the interests of the mullahs’ regime. “If we step aside, we won’t be able to learn these new mechanisms and prevent the resulting threats, while the threat of these institutions won’t be eliminated by our lack of participation,” he emphasized.
Kamal Dehghani Firouzabadi, deputy chair of the national security and foreign relations committee in the regime’s Majlis (parliament), also voices concern in this regard. “Through reason, we need to use our international relations and convention to our interests,” he said.
“By joining these conventions, we need to have an active presence in the international community and not distance ourselves from structures, and thus isolate ourselves,” he further said in defense of joining FATF.
Ali Najafi, the spokesperson for the committee said: “We shouldn’t politicize the issue of reviewing the FATF related bills in the Expediency Council. In regards to international laws, there is no connection between the IRGC’s terrorist designation and the FATF.”
“After the U.S. malevolently put the IRGC on its foreign terrorist organization's list, some issues have been raised regarding the outcome of reviewing the [FATF] bills in the Expediency Council. It is normal for this issue to have a psychological impact and resulting in some hesitation about international documents and mechanisms,” he added.
Ahmad Tavakkoli, a conservative member of the Expediency Council, said: “After the U.S. designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization, the feeling of danger increases and the situation worsens. The U.S. also supports the FATF and the root of their malevolence is the same.”
Tavakkoli also went on to criticize Europe for asking Tehran to join the FATF. “They are maximalists. They don’t respect their obligations under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal [JCPOA] while putting conditions for us under INSTEX not to have precision missiles. We are facing a handful of maximalist beasts, so to speak,” he said. “I say it clearly that accepting FATF will make it harder on us because they will advance,” he then concluded.
Mohammad Hassan Asafary, a former Majlis member, argued that the IRGC designation has changed the equation. “The recent U.S. measure is in line with the plan of the so-called international organizations, such as the FATF, to put a siege on the country in all sectors. Therefore, we need to be vigilant in this regard and review our membership in communities like FATF and CFT,” he added.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a member of the Majlis national security and foreign relations commission, made remarks about the chances of the Expediency Council to approve FATF bills. “Considering the recent developments and latest U.S. measure against the IRGC, the mood towards these bills in the council is not positive,” he said.
Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Keyhan, known as the mouthpiece of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, used strong words against those supporting the initiative of joining the FATF. “Accepting the FATF is tantamount to inviting the U.S. to put more pressure on us,” he warned.
“When we see that the country’s officials say that by accepting a convention the country’s problems will be solved or after the JCPOA negotiations, some say there is room for negotiations in other sectors, one would think that they are giving coordinates to the enemy,” he added.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has repeatedly called for the IRGC blacklisting for its role in suppressing the Iranian people and exporting Islamic fundamentalism, extremism, and terrorism around the world.
Oil embargo & #BlacklistIRGC must be complemented by other measures, including the recognition of the right of the Iranian ppl & Resistance to overthrow the religious dictatorship & designating other organs of repression,expelling MOIS & IRGC agents from US & Europe#Iran— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) April 22, 2019