Iran Chamber of Commerce Urges FATF Compliance
EghtesadOnline: Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, the country's largest private sector group, has emphasized the necessity of Iran joining the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force.
In a statement announced by ICCIMA at the latest gathering of its Board of Representatives on Sunday, businesspeople warned that if Iran fails to comply with 40 recommendations made by the Anti-Money Laundering body, the country's financial isolation would become certain.
The statement added that by joining FATF, Iran would send a signal that engagement in financial transactions with Iran by other countries would be safe.
Last week, Iran's powerful Guardians Council approved the government bill ratified by the Majlis earlier this year, which amended the law on Combating Financing of Terrorism to make it compatible with the standards set by FATF, according to Financial Tribune.
Iran's original AML law had been approved by parliamentarians in 2011, but had to be updated as Iran seeks to exit the FATF list of high-risk and non-cooperative countries.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on the same day notified the law to the ministries of economy and justice for immediate implementation.
However, the Guardians Council recently ruled that the AML bill passed by the parliament to be inconsistent with the Iranian Constitution and Islamic law, sending it back to the legislature for revision.
The bills are part of the reforms required of Iran to quit the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force that supports governments combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Iranian government has sent a four-point legislation to the parliament, which includes amending the country's AML/CFT law in accordance with FATF standards as well as joining the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo) and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Iran hopes to quit the blacklist that makes foreign investors wary of dealing with it.
In June, lawmakers refrained from approving Iran's accession to the latter convention, referring to uncertainties surrounding the nuclear deal in the wake of the US exit.
In its statement, ICCIMA listed some of the most important reasons for the country to accept the FATF standards.
The private sector body said laying the groundwork for complying with the FATF Action Plan could moderate the prevailing limitations and emphasized that politics should not influence economic decision-making.
As for consequences of inaction, ICCIMA said not complying with FATF would mean isolation for other countries, but the effect for Iran would intensify because the Iranian economy is facing abnormal conditions.
"Economic instability with little precedence and the return of [US] sanctions, in addition to financial isolation resulting from lack of cooperation with FATF, would send a new shock to the country's economic backbone.
It also asked for expert discussion on the issue of joining FATF and said the results should be made public so that contradictory statements are refuted.
In June, FATF said Iran had until October to complete the reforms or face consequences.
Hardliners in parliament have opposed the legislation aimed at moving toward compliance with FATF standards, arguing that it could hamper Iranian support for resistance groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States has classified as a terrorist organization.
The volatility in the currency and gold markets intensified after US President Donald Trump announced in May that he is pulling his country out of the multilateral nuclear deal Iran signed with world powers in 2015.
Earlier this month, Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s purchase of US dollars and its trade in gold, precious metals, metals, coal and industrial software.