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Iran’s regime facing major dilemma over anti-money laundering pact

Iran’s regime grave concerns about the FATF
Iran’s regime grave concerns about the FATF

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Iran, Sept. 21, 2018 - Iran’s state-TV recently aired a roundtable discussing the country’s domestic crises over the issue of succumbing to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the threats Tehran faces in either case of joining this convention or not.

Majid Shakeri, an economy expert linked to the Iranian regime, made interesting remarks over the increasing number of sanctions targeting the mullahs.

“We are a country engulfed in the strongest sanctions in world history. There is no doubt about it that the Americans are imposing a new version of sanctions, targeting name by name and even sanctioning specific positions of our government. They sanctioned Mr. Seif (former Central Bank chief) and then the very position,” he said.

Money laundering has become so rampant that the regime’s own economic experts are acknowledging this dilemma.

“Right now our problem is that a branch of our currency institutions, our banking institutions, they’re involved in money laundering. Even the President said this when he proposed the last budget bill to the parliament. I quote him saying 25 percent of our liquidity is controlled by unorganized financial institutions and they are white-washing money. Dirty money is entering our economy. What is dirty money? Money coming from drugs, money coming from the smuggling of goods,” said Mehdi Pazouki.

This round table also shed light on the Iranian regime’s international network involved in financing terrorism.

“I refer you to [Lebanese Hezbollah chief] Seyed Hassan Nasrollah… I saw his interview with an international network. To prevent sanctions on Lebanon’s banks he said we are very fond of the Islamic republic. We receive our money from the Islamic republic, but not through the banking system. The money arrives in suitcases filled with cash. To the extent that I’m aware, Hezbollah doesn’t receive its money from the banking system,” Pazouki added.

He was referring to an interview delivered by Nasrollah in the summer of 2017 acknowledging the fact that the Iranian regime provides all the funding for the Lebanese Hezbollah.

These remarks further prove the deep crises facing Iran’s regime over the FATF.

The Iranian regime parliament on Sunday voted for a two-month postponement of a bill vote over the regime joining the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Tehran seeks time to allow the result of its talks with Europe reach a conclusion and decide afterward.

The FATF is a convention aimed at fighting to disrupt money laundering and funds for terrorist groups. Various FATF regulations will bring about major restrictions for the Iranian regime’s banking systems.

“We cannot neglect the FATF and say we will not join the convention. The FATF is an internationally recognized framework and if we intend to work with the world’s bank we are forced to adapt ourselves with its conditions,” said the Iranian regime’s deputy economy minister, cited by the state Vatane Emruz daily.

Kayhan daily, known to be the mouthpiece of Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, had this to share.

“Joining the FATF will provide new legal tools at our enemies’ disposal, establish a world consensus against the state and realize increasing sanctions against the country’s state institutions, such as the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)… Will this not lead to a blow to the heroic [Lebanese] Hezbollah and the state’s strategic depth?

“The U.S. is seeking to overthrow us; Europe pursues its own economic interest and stopping our missile and regional power, and the FATF will provide tools to these powers that are looking to gain influence over our economic/political security and regional influence,” the piece explains.

The faction close to Khamenei in the regime’s parliament issued a statement saying:

“Bearing in mind the fact that the world’s major powers consider the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas in Palestine, Yemen’s Ansarollah [Houthis], Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) and other similar groups as terrorist entities, and instead at least covertly support the [PMOI/MEK], joining the FATF will render endless international measures and increasing sanctions against a variety of our state entities, including the IRGC. Our state institutions and officials will be divided into two classifications of sanctioned and non-sanctioned entities. As a result, there will also be entities sanctioned inside the country. At the end of the day, Iran’s dossier will be referred to The Hague and United Nations Security Council.”

Tehran’s grave concerns about the FATF, and their lose-lose situation evolved further through the remarks of another regime MP.

“If we choose not to join this convention, we will not be able to monitor the hypocrites or the so-called People's Mojahedin Organization, in any country. However, by joining [the FATF] we can pursue the measures taken across the globe against the Islamic Republic, our country, our national interests,” said Iranian lawmaker Mostafa Kavakabian.

Interesting is how Tehran claims the PMOI/MEK is a group with no roots in the country and is facing complete demise. And all the while, with the FATF placing the regime before damning circumstances, the case of monitoring the PMOI/MEK’s measures against the Iranian regime is linked to the mullahs joining this international platform or not.