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EghtesadOnline: To get out of the dreaded blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force, Iran does not need to start from scratch or pluck stars from the sky, says a former Iranian diplomat.

“The door is open for Iran to come out of the FATF blacklist… it only needs to resume where it had stopped,” Kourosh Ahmadi was quoted as saying by IRNA. 

He referred to Iran’s joining in Palermo and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) conventions as a way out of the blacklist, according to Financial Tribune.

Apart from the mentioned conventions, Iran has to implement five more recommendations, which Ahmadi said “are mainly technical and legal issues to which Iranian authorities have no objection”. 

The global watchdog last Friday put Iran on its blacklist after Tehran failed to comply with international anti-terrorism funding norms. 

“If Iran ratifies the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions, in line with the FATF standards, the FATF will decide on the next steps, including whether to suspend the countermeasures,” reads an excerpt of the watchdog statement. 

Iran failed to meet the deadline set the by the FATF session in October to fully comply with FATF standards.  FATF had then given Iran a final deadline to comply with international norms after which “it would urge all its members to apply countermeasures”.  

“The FATF fully lifts the suspension of counter-measures and calls on its members and urges all jurisdictions to apply effective counter-measures,” the FATF said in the Friday statement. 

On the impact of FATF decision on Iran’s overseas finances, Ahmadi said the move would increase risks for countries that trade with the blacklisted country 

“This will compel international financial markets to take extra caution when interacting with Iran,” he said, reckoning cuts in financial ties, closure of Iran’s overseas bank branches and brokerages and stricter auditing of Iranian transactions would be some of the unwanted ramifications. 

The former diplomat said the FATF’s move is sound of music for hostile countries wanting to exert more pressure on Iran’s economy. 

“FATF’s move has given extra space to countries wanting the increase pressure on Iran,” he said, pointing to the so-called “maximum pressure policy on Iran by Donald Trump and his hawkish administration.



Delayed But Dire  

The watchdog’s move to put Iran on its blacklist means dire consequences on its economy. However, the effects may not be immediate and all sectors of the economy may not be affected directly or in equal measure, according to Mohammad Mehdi Mazaheri, a university instructor and political analyst. 

“Due to a numerous hostile measures already imposed on our country, the decision is unlikely to have immediate effect on the economy or dislodge the people’s livelihood,” he said.  

Recalling that there are a handful of countries on FATF blacklist, Mazaheri said “It is unpromising to see Iran is on the same echelon as an isolated country like North Korea”.

Echoing a similar view, Majidreza Hariri, chairman of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce, said the decision won’t have a major impact in the short-term as “a big part of Iran’s foreign trade is conducted via non-bank channels”. 

However, it must be added that “this will have deep psychological effects. In short, companies that were previously willing to work with us may shy away,” ILNA quoted him as saying. 


Iran FATF Financial Action Task Force blacklist way out