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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Update February 23, 2018: 

Results of the FATF-Meeting on Iran:

  1. Iran will remain on the FATF Public Statement until the full Action Plan has been completed.
  2. The FATF decided to continue the suspension of counter-measures

 

 

FATF Meeting: Iran Must Remain on the Blacklist of Terrorism Sponsors!

Berlin, 19.2.2018

Since Sunday, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international agency for combating money laundering and terrorist financing, holds a six day meeting, which will also deal with Iran. Iran is considered to be a "non-cooperating high-risk country", as Iran’s funding of terrorist groups threatens the international financial system. [1] In order to be removed from the list, Teheran had been working on a so-called "Action Plan", which expired at the end of January 2018. At its February 2018 meeting, the FATF will assess progress made by Iran and take appropriate action.

The content of the "Action Plan" has not been published, but it seems impossible that the problem of terrorist financing can be solved. Ali-Akbar Velayati, a former foreign minister and now one of the key advisors to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said in September 2016 that it was not in the Iranian national interest to bow to the FATF guidelines. These were directed against Iran's "campaigns against Zionism and its supporters" in Palestine and Lebanon and against the fighters "for the glory of Islam". As an example, Velayati explicitly named Hezbollah and called for a policy of “resistance” to the FATF. [2]

Iranian officials repeatedly boast about financing terrorist groups. [3] Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's general secretary, said: " The budget of Hizbullah, its salaries, its expenses, its food, its drink, its weapons, and its missiles come from the Islamic Republic of Iran. … No law will be able to prevent this money from reaching us.” [4]

STOP THE BOMB spokeswoman Ulrike Becker comments: "Iran is the largest sponsor of terrorist groups worldwide and must therefore remain on the FATF list of non-cooperating countries. The punitive measures against Teheran should also be resumed. The idea of cooperation with the Iranian regime in the fight against international terrorism is an illusion. The risk that the FATF loses its credibility is far greater than the loss of Iran’s fake cooperation. Moreover, the FATF risks losing all influence in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. "

The listing of the FATF is one of the biggest remaining barriers to doing business with the Iranian regime. The German banking supervisory authority Bafin stipulates that the origins of funds must ­be clarified when dealing with countries that do not cooperate in the fight against terrorist financing. [5] Banks that finance Iran business must therefore undertake elaborate and costly audits, which hampers business on a large scale.

[1] See FATF website, http://www.fatf-gafi.org/countries/#Iran; see also the "public statement" of the FATF of February 24, 2017, http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/high-riskandnon-cooperativejurisdictions/documents/public-statement-february-2017.html.

[2] Velayati challenges FATF saying it does not serve Iran national interest, Iran Sept. 4, 2016, http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82217290/.

[3] A list of statements can be found here: http://de.stopthebomb.net/en/fatf.html

[4] "Hassan Nasrallah: Hizbullah's Money and Missiles Reach Us Directly from Iran, No Law Will Prevent This," Middle East Media Research Institute, June 24, 2016. https://www.memri.org/tv/hassan-nasrallah-hizbullahs-money-and-missiles-reach-us-directly-iran-no-law-will-prevent/transcript

[5] See letters of the Banking Supervision Bafin, April 5, 2016, https://www.bafin.de/SharedDocs/Veroeffentlichungen/DE/Rundschreiben/2016/rs_1602_gw_fatf.html

 

 

 

 

Statements by Iranian Officials on FATF Compliance

Source: Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Risks of Doing Business with Iran, May 2017, p. 31-36.

 

Ali Akbar Velayati, Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

  • “This agreement [FATF], is not in the country’s expediency. Because he who can continue resistance will be victorious. So if anyone does not stand against these sanctions and shows weakness, he will lose and the other side will be victorious.”[1]
  • “The reason for sanctions on Khatam [Al Anbiya Construction] base or the Qods [Force] was because these are at the frontlines against Zionism and the supporters of Zionist regime. They are at the frontlines of fighting those or those countries that move against Islam. During these past several decades, they were the flagbearers of the fight against Zionism and the supporters of Zionism, and this is the most important issue.” “Our fighters, whether inside Iran, in the region, in Palestine, Lebanon and in total – the chain of resistance will not abandon resistance for the excuse of these sanctions.”
  • “The essence of the Islamic revolution is resistance. As long as resistance continues, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s success will continue. Anytime we are tired of resistance, therefore, victory will cease. Experience shows that the Iranian people and those who obey Iran including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, etc. will not be tired of resistance.” [3]
  • “The goal of international organizations is to deprive the Islamic Republic of Iran from financial capabilities and international economic credit, which is a type of sanction, and limiting the Islamic Republic of Iran and economic activists. We must not obey them.” [4]

  • “We must fight this type of sanctions and limitation, not obey them and move toward them.” [5]

 

Ali Tayyebnia, Iranian Economy Minister

 

  • “We will not allow any international body to access our intelligence. We will not accept definitions and examples of terrorism from any authority except the UN Security Council...and we will not recognize international sanctions on revolutionary individuals and institutions within Iranian territory.” [6]
  • “These sanctions have nothing to do with FATF, even though we do not accept these restrictions and won’t comply with them and we never give the information about them [Iranian institutions] to foreigners.” [7]
  • Iran will “conditionally implement” the Action Plan “according to the constitution.” [8]
  • He admitted that Iran is doing the minimum necessary to get out from under FATF’s de facto sanctions: “Countries have chosen a level for combating money laundering, and for this reason our cooperation with FATF is at the level that we exit sanctions.” [9]

 
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of IRGC

  • “As for the IRGC, FATF will not affect it in any way, not even a little, because the IRGC is a legal institution and is in full compliance with the legal criteria of Iran. It is a stable, strong and mighty institution, and has already found ways to tolerate the hostility of the largest enemies. It has experience and knows how to conduct itself. [10]
  • “I am confident that this FATF treaty and convention is a tool by which to monitor our financial turnover and a lever with which to influence us… This issue will absolutely have no impact on the activities of the IRGC because the IRGC is a legal and strong institution and has the conditions [necessary] to combat the great powers and has established its influence far away.” [11]


Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, Head of Iran’s Judiciary

 

  • "When they ask the foreign minister of America, why do you violate your commitments under the JCPOA, they say we have acted on our commitments and even gone further than they require. However, Iranians must do certain things, such as ceasing their support for terrorists and halting their missile activities. However, what they mean by terrorists are resistance groups like Hezbollah of Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine, which have stood against the violations and crimes of the Zionist regime.” [12]
  • Parliamentarian Farhad Fallahati: “Unfortunately, we do not have a common definition of money laundering with FATF, and until this common definition is attained, we will have a complex path ahead… Should FATF not misguide the [path of] the system’s Revolution, then it appears to be a favorable thing.” [13]
  • Parliamentarian Ahmad Salek:  “The goal of agreements like FATF is to restrain, humiliate, and weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolution… The JCPOA was for controlling the nuclear industry. Where are our centrifuges and where has our enrichment reached today? FATF is for controlling [our] financial affairs and the transfer and movement of money of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to prevent the supporting of the  oppressed... What has the Supreme Council for Combating Money Laundering which was established in 86 done? 25 billion illicit commodities exist in this country, my main question [thus] is exactly what effect will this have for the nation of Iran which is plagued with unemployment and economic problems, other than influence? The 10th parliament is a revolutionary parliament and will not permit [the imposition of] influence on the country.” [14]
  • Parliamentarian Mohammad-Hossein Nejad reportedly said, “We must wait and see what information FATF wants from Iran, and if it wants this information from the [whole] world. In the articles of this agreement some of [our] military institutions are subject to sanctions. What is more important for us, the IRGC or working with American banks? FATF wants more than the creation of transparency with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is the extension of influence.” [15]
  • Mohammad Javad Jamali, member of the presiding board of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said: “If the [FATF] deal is implemented, the security of the Islamic establishment will be threatened.” [16]
  • Gholamreza Kateb, member of the Iranian parliament’s Leadership Board: “Under no circumstances should our national interest be distorted… Americans and Westerners have established this [FATF] system to hurt the forces of resistance to support terrorist groups including DAESH (ISIS). According to the constitution, Iran is obligated to have support for resistance forces under any circumstances. Therefore the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any contract or agreement that causes harm to resistance groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah.” [17]
  • Seyyed Javad Abtahi, member of Iranian parliament’s Education and Research Commission: “This contract is a new financial capitulation… There is no reason for us to become the agent of sanctioning legal institutions and persons of our country… Joining this convention can pave the way for the erosion of the independence, security, and authority of the system of the Islamic Republic of  Iran…Compartmentalized documents from the country must not be accessible to the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran… With such conventions, the enemies aim to do damage to the forces of resistance, such as Lebanese Hezbollah.” [18]

  • Abbas Araghchi, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister: “Ceasing support for Hezbollah in return for an [FATF] agreement [is] out of the question.” [19]
  • Ahmad Jannati, head of the Guardian Council: “I do not understand how they could sign this confidential document. I’ve studied both the Persian and English versions and I soon came to the conclusion that they want to give our financial and banking information to the enemy. They want us to sanction ourselves. They want us to sanction the individuals and institutions that the enemy disagrees with. They want us to sanction the IRGC, revolutionary institutions and individuals who sacrificed their own lives to protect the nation for eight years [Iran-Iraq War in 1980-88], and the [IRGC-linked] Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters that has done lots of services — most of which our people aren’t aware of. How could you do that?” [20]
  •  Mehdi Taghavi, Iranian economics professor: “We should not worry about terrorism and its definition in the West. According to FATF policy, it is in its negotiations with countries that individuals and organizations are listed as terrorists. During such negotiations, Iran will have the opportunity to convince the body to accept its own definition of terrorism to ensure its security.” [21]
  • Valliolah Seif, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran: “No Iranian entity will have financial restrictions put on them,”207 and the Central Bank of Iran will be the only entity determining AML and CFT infractions. [22]lah and Hamas Officials Affirming Iran’s

Support of their Activitie

Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah

  • “The budget of Hezbollah, its salaries, its expenses, its food, its drink, its weapons, and its missiles come from the Islamic Republic of Iran … No law will be able to prevent this money from reaching us.” [23]
  • Referring to the U.S. law that imposes sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with Hezbollah, Nasrallah said: “As long as Iran has money, we will have money. Can one be more transparent than that? The money allocated for us reaches us directly, not through banks.” [24]

Abdallah Safieddine, Hezbollah’s Representative in Iran

  • Safieddine has told a reporter that the Supreme Leader’s foundations directly fund Hezbollah. [25]

 

Mousa Abu Marzouk, Vice Chairman of Hamas

  •  Abu Marzouk praised Iran for the first time since Hamas left the Syrian capital of Damascus. He said, “The support offered by Iran to the Palestinian resistance — be it in logistics, training or funds — is unmatched and beyond the capabilities of other countries. Iran’s support and backing to the resistance and the Palestinian cause is clear, explicit and equal to the stance of Arab, Muslim and free peoples of the world who back and support the resistance. [26]

 

[1] به صلاح کشور نیست/ خودی ها نباید از نقشه های دشمن تبعیت کنند“ .  FATF توافق (FATF is not in the country’s expediency/we must not obey the enemy’s plans,” Fars News Agency (Iran), July 4, 2016. (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13950614001034)

[2] به صلاح کشور نیست/ خودی ها نباید از نقشه های دشمن تبعیت کنند“ .  FATF توافق (FATF is not in the country’s expediency/we must not obey the enemy’s plans,” Fars News Agency (Iran), July 4, 2016. (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13950614001034)

[3] به صلاح کشور نیست/ خودی ها نباید از نقشه های دشمن تبعیت کنند“ .  FATF توافق (FATF is not in the country’s expediency/we must not obey the enemy’s plans,” Fars News Agency (Iran), July 4, 2016. (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13950614001034)

[4] به صلاح کشور نیست/ خودی ها نباید از نقشه های دشمن تبعیت کنند“ .  FATF توافق (FATF is not in the country’s expediency/we must not obey the enemy’s plans,” Fars News Agency (Iran), July 4, 2016. (www.farsnews.com/newstext.php)

[5] به صلاح کشور نیست/ خودی ها نباید از نقشه های دشمن تبعیت کنند“ .  FATF توافق (FATF is not in the country’s expediency/we must not obey the enemy’s plans,” Fars News Agency (Iran), July 4, 2016. (http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13950614001034)

[6] “Iran sets conditions for joining terror finance taskforce,” Middle East Online (UK), September 27, 2016. (http://www.middle-eastonline.com/english/?id=78917)

[7] Saheb Sadeghi, “Financial watchdog worries Iranian hard-liners,” Al Monitor, September 28, 2016. (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/09/iran-financial-action-task-force-fatf-debate-wto.html)

[8] “Iran News Round Up,” AEI’s Critical Threats Project, September 7, 2016 (http://www.criticalthreats.org/iran-news-roundseptember-07-2016)

[9] به هیچ کسی اجازه نمی دهیم نام گروه های مقاومت را در کنار تروریست ها قرار دهد“ . (we will not permit anyone to put the names of resistance groups next to terrorists),” Young Journalists Club (Iran), September 27, 2016. (www.yjc.ir/fa/news/ به-هیچ-کسی-اجازه-نمی دهیم-نام-/ 5796129 (گروه های-مقاومت-را-در-کنار-تروریست ها-قرار-دهدهیچ-گونه-اشراف-اطلاعاتی-را-نخواهیم-پذیرفت

[10] Yigal Carmon & A. Savyon, “Khamenei Glorifies IRGC But Does Not Rule Out Adopting Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards, Which Harms IRGC, Regarded In The West As A Terror Organization),” Middle East Media Research Institute, September 26, 2016. (http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/9472.htm)

[11] جنگلی از موشک در تونل ها و اماکن خاص برای دشمن آماده کرده ایم“ . (we have created a jungle of missiles in tunnels and special places for the enemy,” Fars News Agency (Iran), September 23, 2016. (www.farsnews.com/newstext.php)

[12] Adam Kredo, “Iran Launches War Drills Amid Accusations U.S. Breaking Nuke Deal,” Washington Free Beacon, October 18, 2016 (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-launches-war-drills-amid-accusations-u-s-breaking-nuke-deal/)

[13] طیب نیا:نمی گذاریم اشراف اطلاعاتی به وجود آید“. (Tayebnia: we will not permit intelligence oversight),” Fars News Agency (Iran), September 27, 2016. (www.farsnews.com/newstext.php)

[14] Adam Kredo, “Iran Launches War Drills Amid Accusations U.S. Breaking Nuke Deal,” Washington Free Beacon, October 18, 2016 (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-launches-war-drills-amid-accusations-u-s-breaking-nuke-deal/)

[15] مصداق نفوذ و سوپر برجام است“. FATF (FATF is the basis of infiltration and super JCPOA), Mehr News Agency (Iran), September 28, 2016 (www.mehrnews.com/news/3778450/FATF- (مصداق-نفوذ-و-سوپر-برجام-است

[16] “FATF Deal against Iran’s National Security: MP,” Iran Front Page (Iran), September 6, 2016. (http://ifpnews.com/news/business/money-finances/2016/09/fatf-deal-irans-national-security-mp/)

[17] مجلس با هر توافقی که امنیت نظام را ب هخطر بیندازد مخالف است“. (the parliament opposes any agreement that endangers national security),” Tasnim News Agency (Iran), September 16, 2016. (https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1395/06/26/ مجلس-با-هر-توافقی-که-امنیت-/ 1187774 (نظام-را-به-خطر-بیندازد-مخالف-است)

[18] ضریب امنیتی کشور را کاهش می دهد“.  “FATF" FATF reduces the country's security, Tasnim News Agency, September 16, 2016. (https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1395/06/26/1187771/fatf- (ضریب-امنیتی-کشور-را-کاهش-می-دهدجلوی این کار گرفته می شود و امضای خود را پس می گیرند“ . 204 :FATF آی تالله جنتی در مخالفت با (Ahmad Jannati in opposing FATF: this should be stopped and they should retract signature),” ANA (Iran), September 10, 2016. (http://www.ana.ir/news/139759)

[19] Saheb Sadeghi, “Financial watchdog worries Iranian hard-liners,” Al Monitor, September 28, 2016. (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/09/iran-financial-action-task-force-fatf-debate-wto.html)

[20] Saheb Sadeghi, “Financial watchdog worries Iranian hard-liners,” Al Monitor, September 28, 2016. (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/09/iran-financial-action-task-force-fatf-debate-wto.html)

[21] “Anti-money-laundering agreement sparks fight between Iranian factions,” BNE Intellinews, September 13, 2016. (http://www.intellinews.com/anti-money-laundering-agreement-sparks-fight-between-iranian-factions-105935/)

[22] “CBI to protect clients’ banking info in FATF exchange,” Press TV (Iran), July 6, 2016. (http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/07/06/473823/Iran-protects-banking-info)

[23] “Hassan Nasrallah: Hizbullah’s Money and Missiles Reach Us Directly from Iran, No Law Will Prevent This,” Middle East Media Research Institute, June 24, 2016. (https://www.memri.org/tv/hassan-nasrallah-hizbullahs-money-and-missiles-reach-us-directly-iranno-law-will-prevent/transcript)

[24] “Hassan Nasrallah: Hizbullah’s Money and Missiles Reach Us Directly from Iran, No Law Will Prevent This,” Middle East Media Research Institute, June 24, 2016. (https://www.memri.org/tv/hassan-nasrallah-hizbullahs-money-and-missiles-reach-us-directly-iranno-law-will-prevent/transcript)

[25] Amall Saad-Ghorayeb, "Hezbollah’s Iran Money Trail: It's Complicated", Al Akhbar, July 31, 2012. (english.al-akhbar.com/content/hezbollahs-iran-money-trail-its-complicated)

[26] Hazem Balousha, "Why Hamas resumed ties with Iran", Al Monitor, June 29, 2016  (www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/06/gaza-hamas-resume-relations-iran.html)

 

 

Links 

Foundation for Defense of Democracies: Risks of doing business with Iran (Mai 2017)

Washington Institute: Katherine Bauer: Iran Faces Challenges in Implementing Its FATF Action Plan (Oktober 2016)

Statement of the FATF (2/23/2018)