March 19, 2019
Secretary of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, Mohsen Rezaei, says the EU needs to Guarantee oil purchase from Iran if it wants Iran to ratify the bills required by FATF, the Financial Action Task Force.
Two of the four bills that would join Iran to international conventions against money laundering and funding terrorism and ensure transparency of the Islamic Republic’s international financial transactions are stuck at the Council, which is the arbiter between the Iranian Parliament and the constitutional watchdog Guardian Council. The EDC says it might reach a final decision on the bills by April.
Rezaei, one of the EDC members who opposes the ratification of the bills, has said during a visit to Qom on Sunday that “Europeans did everything to have the FATF bills ratified by Iran, but they fail to understand the council’s logical demand for a guarantee” that would ensure the purchase of Iran’s oil by Europe.
It was interesting that hours after these remarks the EDC denied the conditions Rezaei had mentioned, saying that they do not accurately reflect the Council’s position.
Rezaei , who was speaking at Mesbah Institute in Qom, a hardline Madrasah that trains foreign Shiite clerics, alleged that Europe has refrained from purchasing Iran’s oil. “This enemy does not understand the language of diplomacy. It does not respect any commitment. So, we must not speak softly to such an enemy.”
It wasn’t clear who Rezaei was referring to as Europe is still remaining in the nuclear deal with Iran, and that FATF regulations are beyond EU’s sole jurisdiction as most countries are its members. Meanwhile, Europe has tried to establish a financial mechanism to ease the pressure of sanctions on Iran.
Iran is facing problems in its international financial transactions because it has not joined the FATF, which has given Tehran yet another four months starting from late February to join or face re-entry into the task force’s black list.
Iran was in the FATF blacklist with North Korea until 2016, when the task force temporarily took it out of the blacklist. Being on the black list would cripple a country’s banking relations with the world.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Asadollah Abbasi, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Presidium, has said in an interview with Tasnim news agency criticized INSTEX, the financial mechanism Europe has established to help maintain limited trade relations.
Abbasi said that “INSTEX is a means for Europe to find out about how Iran spends its oil revenue.”
Abbasi, MP for Roudsar in northern Iran, said “Iran’s oil revenue will be deposited into INSTEX to enable Europe to oversee and control Iran’s income,” adding that “INSTEX is not a good system for sending Iran’s money to Europe to import food and medicine.”
Chairman of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, also said on Sunday that “INSTEX does not meet all of Iran’s expectations.”
Falahatpisheh told Mehr news agency, “Many European countries have still not joined INSTEX. Only Germany, France and UK are following the implementation of INSTEX,” although he also mentioned that even those three countries have shown during the nuclear negotiations with Iran that they maintain “special relations with America.”
Germany, France and Britain launched Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) in January to facilitate business between Europe and Iran in the face of tough U.S. economic sanctions.
According to Iran’s Central Bank Governor in an interview with the official news agency IRNA on March 15, a mechanism similar to the EU’s INSTEX trade channel, to be called the Special Trade and Finance Institute (STFI), will be registered in Tehran possibly in April after the Iranian New Year holidays.