The Iranian Foreign Ministry has reiterated the need for Tehran’s accession to the convention on Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), saying the country’s failure to do so will provide the US with the pretext to increase its pressure on the Islamic Republic.
The Foreign Ministry made the comments in a statement released on Tuesday in reaction to some media outlets’ misinterpretation of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s statements in a parliament session on Iran joining the CFT.
“Contrary to what certain media outlets have concluded from FM Zarif’s statements, the foreign minister said refusing to join the convention on Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) will solve problems of the US which looks for pretexts to prevent Iran from cooperating with the international community,” the statement said.
“In this way, we make it easier for the US to convince others, including China, Russia and the EU, to stop cooperating with Iran. As the foreign minister said, no one can guarantee that joining the FATF will solve all of our problems, but Iran’s failure to ratify the convention paves the way for the US to add to our problems,” it added.
The foreign ministry’s statement comes as the CFT bill, passed by the Parliament on Sunday, is going to be discussed by the Guardian Council on Wednesday.
To be signed into law, the bill needs to be ratified by the legislative watchdog. Otherwise, it will be returned to the Parliament, and then sent to the Expediency Council, which will make the final decision as an arbiter.
“Following the removal of nuclear sanctions by the JCPOA, restrictions resulting from Iran being in the black list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have been the biggest obstacle to expansion of banking ties with foreign banks. The two-year suspension of Iran’s black list status, which came as a result of widespread consultations by the foreign ministry, temporarily eased many restrictions. However, many large banks still refused to cooperate with Iranian banks due to the fact that the suspension was temporary,” the foreign ministry’s statement said.
“The current US policy on Iran is imposing maximum pressure, mainly through imposing harsh economic restrictions. During the recent months, the US government has sent delegations to many countries to convince them to place sanctions and economic pressure on Iran.”
“In the recent FATF meetings, particularly the latest one, the US, the Zionist regime, Saudi Arabia and some of their followers have openly tried to remove suspension of Iran’s status in the black list and reinstate anti-Iran banking restrictions,” the statement added.
The statement added that as the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said, god-willing Iran will defeat sanctions and prevent the US from imposing new pressure. “Failing to observe the FATF’s plan of action will give the US the required pretext for returning Iran to the black list and this way, we have placed sanction on ourselves.”
“Iran’s talks with signatories to the nuclear deal to save the JCPOA and thwart the US sanctions are making progress. Initiatives designed, including Iran-Europe special financial mechanism, will not be implemented if Iran returns to the FATF black list. Iran’s economic and banking cooperation with other friendly countries are in similar conditions,” it added.
It also noted that in the past two years, all possible negative dimensions of Iran’s implementation of FATF action plan, particularly the convention on countering the financing of terrorism, have been discussed in various expert meetings and necessary solutions have been devised.
“We believe that the country will certainly incur losses if the FATF accession is not finalized. The foreign minister has fulfilled his duty by informing others of dangers and providing solutions to avoid damages,” the statement added.
The foreign ministry finally urged domestic media outlets which hold a different view on big and national issues to show fairness, piety and dignity and avoid making erroneous interpretations of statements made by those who care for the country.