TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – An Iranian clergyman voiced strong opposition to the country’s accession to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), warning that “plundering countries” seek to control Iran’s economy.

– Politics news –

Addressing Friday prayer-goers in Tehran, Ayatollah Kazem Seddiqi said the FATF has been created by the think tanks of plundering countries, stressing that the policies invented by such an organization run counter to the Iranian culture.

While the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, has already resulted in price hikes in Iran, joining the FATF could pave the way for harsher sanctions and mounting pressure against Iran, the cleric warned, slamming the ploy as part of an ongoing economic war on Iran.

“In the economic war, they (enemies) want to monitor our spending and know where we earn revenues from and who in the world we have economic interaction with, as they intend to accuse us on the basis of laws. A wise person would never let the enemies in on the secrets,” Ayatollah Seddiqi stated.

According to the Financial Action Task Force, Iran had until October 2018 to complete reforms that would “bring it into line with global norms or face consequences” that could further deter investors from the country.

Earlier this month, Iran’s Guardian Council (GC) said despite a recent amendment to the parliamentary bill for the country’s accession to Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) treaty – a series of standards set by the FATF – its problems are still in place.

To fulfill FATF requirements, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has proposed four bills to the parliament for approval, two of which are still undecided, including the Palermo Convention.

In June 2018, the Iranian parliament passed a law allowing the country to join the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), but decided to put on hold debates on accession to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for two months.

Iran’s parliament had in May adopted new amendments proposed by the government to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) law as part of efforts to improve connections to the international banking and trade system.