London, 5 Jun – The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established almost 30 years ago. The FATF’s aim is to set standards for curbing money laundering and terrorist financing and other threats that could affect the international financial system. It is also tasked with promoting legal, operational and regulatory measures in these aims.
The FATF was the topic of a heated discussion in the parliament of Iran last week. On 27th May, there were loud debates among several members.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is keen to adopt the FATF bill as soon as possible, as is Ali Larijani – the speaker of the Parliament. However, there are several members of the parliament who are not keen to have the bill adopted and are calling on Rouhani to reconsider.
Mojtaba Zolnour is one such member who does not want the bill to be signed. He told Rouhani that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has always been concerned about talks regarding the FATF. He reminded Rouhani that he said that if the United Stated exited the 2015 nuclear deal, everything will be resolved. He said: “After all the recent developments, you have wasted the opportunity we had in the region.”
However, those that have taken the Iranian president’s side are reminding the others that the Supreme Leader was very involved in the nuclear negotiations and he always had the final say. No steps, they reminded, were ever taken without the Supreme Leader’s explicit approval.
If Iran does go ahead and sign into the framework, there will be some huge changes in store for Iran. Equally, refusing to sign into the framework will have serious consequences. If Iran shuns the framework, it might just be rewarded with further crippling economic sanctions.
Those at either side of the argument in the Iranian parliament would be better off to see that no matter what decision they make, they are facing an impossible situation. Even a member of parliament admitted that the Islamic revolution is going through some major changes and tests that will put unprecedented pressure on it.
Furthermore, the people of Iran are putting pressure on the leadership of the country. There have been ongoing protests since the major uprising that took place at the end of last year and beginning of this one.
The people are very aware that their economic issues have been exacerbated by the clerical leadership that is in control of the country. They have identified the current ruling system as the one obstacle that is preventing them from ever experiencing true freedom, democracy and human rights. They want the cruel, callous and corrupt dictator removed from its position of power and to be replaced by a leadership that will respect the rights of the people.
The Iranian people must be supported by the international community. Leaders, for example, could put their short-term interests to the side and think about the long-term consequences of dealing with and appeasing a regime that does not deserve it.