Iran refuses to link FATF to EU trade mechanism

Iran rejected Monday a “special mechanism” to circumvent US sanctions by complying with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, a parliamentary speaker quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif as saying.

Iran’s top judge said that Tehran would never accept the “humiliating conditions” set by the European Union for non-dollar trade intended to evade US sanctions.

Spokesman for the Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ali Najafi told reporters that during the Commission’s meeting, the FM said that the newly-unveiled EU trade mechanism, in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX), cannot be conditioned on Iran’s accession to anti-money laundering body FATF.

The Commission’s session was attended by Zarif, deputies and senior managers of the Economy Ministry and Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

Zarif rejected any links between the INSTEX and FATF, stressing that Europe’s late action in establishing the mechanism cannot be conditioned, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.

“At the meeting, the foreign minister briefed the MPs on the financial mechanism between Iran and Europe and stressed that this mechanism was a positive and initial step by the EU to maintain the interests of Iran,” Najafi said.

On Monday, the European Council said it is “gravely concerned” by Iran’s ballistic missile activity and called upon it to refrain from these activities. It urged it to take all necessary measures to fully respect all relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to the transfer of missiles and relevant material and technology to state and non-state actors in the region.

“The Council is … gravely concerned by Iran’s ballistic missile activity and calls upon Iran to refrain from these activities,” EU said in a rare joint statement on Iran, according to Reuters.

Last week, Iran revealed a long-range cruise missile “Hoveizeh”.

Germany, France, and Britain (E3) have launched a mechanism to allow financial flows to be sent to Iran that would not violate US sanctions in an attempt to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive.

INSTEX will help European firms with legitimate business interests to use barter techniques to conduct business in Iran.

“It is a political act,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters after a meeting of his European Union counterparts in Bucharest.

“It is a gesture to protect European companies.”

E3 said in the statement that INSTEX will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on sectors that are most essential to the Iranian population, such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods.

On the long run, INSTEX aims to be open to economic operators from third countries who wish to trade with Iran.

The European mechanism is seen as a means to trade Iranian oil and gas exports in exchange for purchases of European goods.

Details of the financial mechanism were leaked which sparked a heated debate in Iran.

A team of diplomats, close to Zarif, took it to the media to defend the nuclear deal and rebut fierce condemnation of critics of the agreement and close circles to Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the conservative movement.

The activation of the mechanism coincided with the growing disagreements between the Iranian decision-making bodies on the government’s draft.

Parliament approved the government’s draft of the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and the Palermo Convention, while the Guardian Council refused to pass the laws, which led to its referral to the Expediency Council.

The Expediency Council did not announce its final decision on joining the FATF after more than 10 days of media leaks suggesting that its committees had rejected the government’s draft bill.

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said Iran will never give in to humiliating conditions set by Europe for the enforcement of its new non-dollar mechanism aimed at facilitating trade with Tehran.

“European countries, which had promised to remain committed to Iran’s nuclear deal after the US withdrawal from it, have now restricted their efforts to INSTEX and have reportedly set two strange conditions for it to become effective.”

Addressing a meeting of high-ranking judicial officials on Monday, Larijni went on to say that Europe asked Iran to join the FATF and started missile negotiations, before INSTEX enters into force.

He noted that today, European countries are moving in the same direction that the US had moved before “and we must continue to stand fast as always.”

Larijani explained: “After nine months of dawdling and negotiations, European countries have come up with a limited-capacity mechanism not for exchange of money with Iran, but to supply food and medicine.”

Source » aawsat

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