Europeans press FATF to extend Iran Sanctions Reprieve

“Iran remains the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism [and] has done little to enact the anti-money laundering policies requested by the FATF,” their op-ed states. “Over the past year, Iran has continued to provide money, weapons, training and troops to the cause of terrorism throughout the Middle East. From the Houthis in Yemen to propping up Bashar [al-]Assad’s forces in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and supporting Shiite militias in Iraq, there’s no shortage of examples of Iranian influence over some of the most violent groups in the world.”

While Iran has long provided support to militant organizations on the US State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, the money it gives generally does not go through banks.

State Department and White House officials contacted by Al-Monitor did not reply to requests about the Trump administration’s position on renewing the suspension. The administration has continued to implement the nuclear deal by renewing waivers of US nuclear-related sanctions, but it has harshly criticized Tehran for its policies in the region and called for a “peaceful transition” of the Iranian system of government.

Despite the FATF suspension, major Western financial institutions have remained wary of working with Iranian counterparts for fear of incurring huge penalties from the US Justice Department. Large fines have been imposed in the past on banks such as HSBC for misrepresenting transactions with Iran. Nevertheless, European and Asian companies are finding ways to finance some large deals with Iran.

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