Europeans press FATF to extend Iran Sanctions Reprieve

They argue that keeping Iran in a gray zone — rather than returning it to the blacklist — will encourage Tehran to take further steps to improve banks’ performance and bolster confidence that the nuclear deal will endure among European executives who have already signed deals or are contemplating new business with Iran.

“The renewal of the suspension of FATF countermeasures is imperative for European companies and banks doing business with Iran,” Ellie Geranmayeh, a senior policy fellow with the London-based European Council on Foreign Relations, told Al-Monitor in an email. “Without it, the handful of deals that are currently happening and taking shape would be placed on halt.”

Geranmayeh continued, “Major Russian and Chinese banks also require FATF compliance and green light before undertaking big deals with Iran.”

Meanwhile, US opponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action have been lobbying for the sanctions against Iran to be reinstated. The FATF makes decisions by consensus, so the Donald Trump administration could block the renewal of the sanctions waiver.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, former US Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., called for reimposing FATF countermeasures against Iran. Lieberman chairs the anti-deal lobby group United Against Nuclear Iran, while Kirk is an adviser to the group.

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