Iran Regime Fighting Over FATF
By Hamideh Taati
The Iranian Regime is besieged by chaos at the moment, mainly due to the fact that they cannot suppress the growing uprising in Iran and fear the imminent overthrow of the Regime, which is causing major infighting between the factions about how to stop the uprising and regain control.
The President Hassan Rouhani faction is advocating that the Regime bow down to the international community and pass the transparency bills, as required by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), in order to avoid being blacklisted by the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing body, as well as benefits from the European special financial mechanism (INSTEX) to evade US sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the nuclear deal (JCPOA) last year.
Former Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan Afshar Soleimani claims that the economic crisis is the result of mismanagement, with US sanctions being but the trigger for the protests, rather than the cause.
He said: “Currently, it seems that the problems and challenges of 2018-2019 in Iran’s foreign relations will escalate and continue in 2019-2020. If INSTEX does not become operational or if it becomes a low-impact and limited expedition and Iran leaves the JCPOA in return (which seems unlikely), and if the FATF related bills that have been passed by the parliament are not approved by the expediency discernment council, then the economic and monetary situation of the country and the national currency’s value will become more crises-riddled than before.”
While Gharavian, an Iranian cleric from Qom, said: “Our relations with the world need reforms. The Expediency Discernment Council has a heavy responsibility on its shoulders regarding the FATF and international conventions. We need to work on improving the livelihood of the people and keep the dignity of the Iranian [Regime].”
However, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei faction is referring to this option as committing suicide out of fear for death.
Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, said: “Discussion about the FATF are very important and it is sort of like walking on the razor’s edge. On both sides [of the argument] there are benefits and damages. The discernment council needs to come up with a conclusion deciding which of the options has less damages. Therefore, there has been many discussions in the council, and we still haven’t reached a conclusion and the discussions are supposed to continue.”
He went onto say that the budget for 2019/2020 was not a “normal” one because of limited resources, but then also said that the issues in Iran are caused more by “psychological parameters than by real economic parameters”. He claimed that Iran’s enemies were conducting “psychological warfare” which was being exacerbated by some Iranians.
While Reza Alizadeh, a member of the regime’s parliament, said: “Currently, accepting the FATF is detrimental to the country and the [Regime].”
Of course, there is no magical way out of these crises for the mullahs and no faction is capable of true reform. The only thing that will save Iran is the overthrow of the mullahs.