Why Iran should come off Financial Watchdog’s Blacklist

Indeed, in March, after years of legislative rancor, Iran’s Guardian Council finally approved the outgoing parliament’s ratification of a UN treaty against money-laundering and terrorist financing. It will be up to the new parliament to pass more specific AML regulations upholding the treaty. Iran has signaled its desire to join the Eurasian Group, a regional organization that helps member countries in implementing AML standards.

In this vein, several Iranian banks have already been receiving British assistance to implement the regulatory standards required by the FATF. Iran’s representative to the International Monetary Fund has furthermore recently asked for international technical assistance to put in place proper AML standards in the country’s banking industry.

All of these measures indicate a will by the Rouhani administration to quickly get Iran off the FATF blacklist. Whether such moves will result in actual changes in the way Iranian banks do business is a separate challenge. Iranian financial institutions, like their Western counterparts, were deeply impacted by the draconian nature of the nuclear-related sanctions. Reforms to increase transparency will likely be resisted as long as the nuclear deal seems fragile.

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