Zarif attends Parl. session on FATF, EU talks

TEHRAN, Oct. 23 (MNA) – Iranian FM Zarif and his deputy Araghchi attended a closed session of Parliament Tue. morning to brief the lawmakers on issues related to Iran’s status in the Financial Action Task Force, as well as the country’s ongoing talks with EU on the JCPOA.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his deputy for Political Affairs Abbas Araghchi attended a closed session at the Parliament today to discuss issues related to Iran’s status in the FATF, the country’s recent measure in approving the accession to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and the FATF’s following response to Iran’s measures aimed at getting off the blacklist of the Paris-based watchdog.

According to Masoud Pezeshkian, the Parliament Deputy Speaker who chaired Tuesday's session, Zarif and Araghchi also presented a report on the latest developments in talks with the European sides to the Iran nuclear deal. The talks are aimed at ensuring Iran’s economic interests in the face of US sanctions by introducing a mechanism that could facilitate the continuation of trade transactions with Iran.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Parliament session, Behrouz Nemati, spokesman for presiding board of Parliament, quoted Zarif as having said at the session that Europe has vowed to bring into force the financial mechanism promised to facilitate trade with Iran on Nov. 4, saying Russia, India and China are also on board with this.

He added that Zarif and Araghchi had said Europe is completely on Iran’s side, and has given the country a four-month deadline, despite pressure from US and Israel, to consider the FATF-related bills for making the required decisions.

Zarif said the bills have to be approved by Iran in the four-month deadline, voicing concern for the fate of the agreements signed with other countries that could be undermined if FATF does not remove Iran from its blacklist.

Nemati further maintained that most of the lawmakers opposing the FATF-related bills are concerned that European countries would follow in the US’ footstep and refuse to comply with their commitments.

He said the lawmakers had called for obtaining practical guarantees from the European side in this respect.

On Oct. 7, Iran’s Parliament approved a bill on the country’s accession to International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism set by the FATF (Financial Action Task Force).

The measure was part of the efforts taken by Iran in a bid to prompt the UN money laundering watchdog to remove the country from its blacklist.  

During a session on Oct. 19, the FATF noted Iran’s measures and political commitment, but called for further reforms in the country’s financial system as the international group decided to extend suspension of counter-measures against Iran by February 2019.

In a statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry described the FATF decision as a diplomatic achievement for Iran in the face of widespread US efforts to restore Iran’s blacklist status.

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