All tagged FATF

Bankless Task: Can Europe Stay Connected to Iran?

◢ With US sanctions on Iran’s banking sector due to come into effect soon, European countries are now considering measures that would facilitate trade transactions with Iran through a new legal and institutional structure. European governments have been reviewing this legal entity, known as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), for months. The timing of this public announcement suggests that they have a degree of confidence that the SPV can become operational, and that Europe can use the model to showcase its ability to deliver on its commitments.

Unintimidated, Iranian Lawmakers Pass Counter-Terror Financing Bill

◢ Over the last six months, the public debate in Iran around FATF-related reforms has reached a surreal crescendo. Seldom do countries experience such intensive political debates over measures as technical and obtuse as financial regulations. But 143 lawmakers voted bravely to pass the final of four bills required by the FATF action plan, in a landmark vote that may increases chances that Iran maintains ties with international financial institutions in the face of returning sanctions.

Europeans Beat Back Americans as FATF Gives Iran More Time on Financial Reforms

◢ At its plenary meeting in Paris, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) opted “to continue the suspension of countermeasures” related to Iran’s inclusion in the so-called “blacklist” of countries with deficiencies in anti-money laundering (AML) and combating financing of terrorism (CFT) standards.  The suspension will be in place until October 2018. The suspension can be seen as a victory for European and Iranian multilateral cooperation in the face of the increasingly hostile American posture. 

FATF Faces Test of Fairness on Iran at Plenary Meeting

◢ Iran is facing the end of a four month extension given by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for the reform of the country’s AML/CFT regulations. Iran will be hoping for a further extension of the suspension of countermeasures at the June plenary of the FATF. Some FATF members have sought to characterize such extensions as exceptional. However, extensions are a common procedure, and FATF ought to treat Iran’s case in fair recognition of this fact.

High Stakes for Iran in Upcoming FATF Meeting

◢ A few days ahead of an international meeting in which Iran’s efforts to improve anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) standards will be reviewed, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared to pour cold water on the reform process. Yet, it is premature to assume that Iran’s consultations with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are suddenly over after two years of close coordination. As the FATF’s plenary meeting approaches, the stakes are high for Iran, which is seeking another extension for implementation of its action plan.

Iran’s Currency Crisis Spurs Action in Financial Reform Efforts

◢ Forced to respond by Iran’s recent currency crisis, the Central Bank of Iran is approaching regulatory reform in the financial sector with new energy. A critical deadline to meet standards set by the Financial Action Task Force is forthcoming in June. Iran needs to demonstrate progress in tackling financial crime estimated to include at least USD 27 billion in transactions annually.

A Swedish Training Program May Hold the Answer to Iran’s Banking Challenges

◢ Iran's inability to link with the European banking system stems in part from a lack of capacity in key governance and compliance functions. 

◢ In the 1990s, European governments launched substantial "training and technical assistance" programs to help post-Communist states raise standards. Iran needs similar programs, and a model from Sweden may be the most effective.