‘Important and Courageous’: Israel Applauds Global Financial Watchdog Putting Iran on Terror Funding Blacklist

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Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS on 23 February, 2020

By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 23 February, 2020

A global money-laundering watchdog has announced that it has placed Iran on its blacklist of money-laundering states after the Islamic Republic failed to crack down on its terror funding.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said Friday it blacklisted Iran after it failed to fulfill 10 promises made to pass and enforce laws against financing terrorist groups.

Iran has “significant strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation,” FATF stated, calling on all members to apply “enhanced due diligence, and in the most serious cases, countries are called upon to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the ongoing money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing risks emanating from the country.”

It is now taking take measures to further discourage and hinder foreign investment in Iran, deepening the country’s already severe economic isolation.

The FATF, an intergovernmental group based in Paris, has given Iran several chances to comply.

Dr. Shlomit Wagman-Ratner, who represented the Israeli delegation at the FATF, welcomed the announcement as “an important and courageous decision, demonstrating the professionalism of the organization and its determination to fight terrorist financing threats.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz added that the decision “of this professional and respected body reflects Iran’s risk to the international financial system.”

Israel “hopes that the international financial system will adopt the FATF decision and the countries of the world will take effective financial preventive measures to protect the global economy from terrorist financing and money laundering threats coming from the Iranian regime,” he added.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commended FATF for calling on members to “re-impose countermeasures needed to protect the world from terrorist financing threats emanating from Iran.”

“Iran must behave like a normal nation or it will continue to pay for its funding of terrorism,” he said.

Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, according to the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2018 released in November, a dubious title it has held for several consecutive years.

The report notes that Iran has spent nearly one billion dollars per year to support terrorist groups that “serve as its proxies and expand its malign influence across the globe.”

These groups include Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The three are bent on Israel’s destruction, and as Tehran’s proxies, act on its eliminationist intentions toward Israel.

Iran has also engaged in its own terrorist plotting around the world, particularly in Europe, the report said.

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