London-The tale of exposed corruption carried on striking Iran’s public, as major authority figures are turning out to be beyond compromised. Early September, despite the story on oversized paychecks cashed by corrupt politicians is still headlining news in the cleric-led country, another earth-shattering exposé shows the rift widening within Iran’s ruling system.
Reported by Iran-based media outlets such as kayhan, President Rouhani’s government has refused to continue financing the Revolutionary Guard special division “the last of prophets”—the Revolutionary Guard are a military force answering solely to orders of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Iran is an Islamic theocracy, and that one man, the Supreme Leader, exerts ideological and political control over a system dominated by clerics who shadow every major function of the state.
The president is the second highest ranking official in Iran. While the president has a high public profile, however, his power is in many ways trimmed back by the constitution, which subordinates the entire executive branch to the Supreme Leader. In fact, Iran is the only state in which the executive branch does not control the armed forces.
According to Iran’s Constitution, the Supreme Leader is responsible for the delineation and supervision of “the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” which means that he sets the tone and direction of Iran’s domestic and foreign policies. The Supreme Leader also is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and controls the Islamic Republic’s intelligence and security operations; he alone can declare war or peace. The president is responsible for setting the country’s economic policies.
Government-run banks such as Bank Mellat and Bank Sepah have refused offering services to the group. The cut-off was aligned with the international sanctioning of the “last of prophets” group.
It would seem that the split among Iranian authorities is worse than what is being broadcasted by the media— an agreement between the Islamic Republic and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the policy-making body of the international financial system. The join had been spurring internal heated controversy.
On one hand, FATF hailed Iran’s adoption of an action plan to address shortcomings in its anti-money laundering policies and its decision to seek assistance with implementation — on the other hand, the agreement threatens the country’s national security and raises the chances of a civil war, Mohammad Javad Jamali, a member of the presiding board of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told the Iran-based Tasnim news agency.
Iran, however, will remain on the FATF blacklist until the full implementation of measures is completed. Moreover, if the cleric-led regime fails to demonstrate “sufficient progress” at the end of the year-long suspension, the restrictions will be re-imposed.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions, such as Canada, France, Japan, Germany, Italy, Britain and the U.S.
FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally. In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
The body has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognized as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The recommendations form the basis for a coordinated response to these threats to the integrity of the financial system and help ensure a level playing field. First issued in 1990, the FATF Recommendations were revised in 1996, 2001, 2003 and most recently in 2012 to ensure that they remain up to date and relevant, and they are intended to be of universal application.
The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system. The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
Even though many international powers had welcomed Iran’s agreement with the FATF, many fears on Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism remain. Funding of terror groups and radicals presents a threat to the international financial system and security.
FATF reiterated the importance of countries instructing all trade companies and services to provide thorough review when dealing with Iran.
What is more is that Iran ranked top for the third year in a row on the blacklist of money laundering in 2016. The study included another 149 world countries.
Iran, along with North Korea, is blacklisted by FATF and aims to be removed from “high risk and non-cooperative” status, even if it does not obtain full membership.
Over the past few years, heresy spread on Iran also using dirty money to carry out internal political propaganda, especially during election season. More so, Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said that the money laundering scandal in Iran has only worsened over time.
Despite that the Revolutionary Guard might be directly involved in money laundering, it should be held liable for political parties it supports and that are corrupted.
Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia had said on Sep.27 that Iran is not ready to compromise on issues of intelligence sharing, sanctions and definitions of terrorist groups in order to join an international task force against terror financing – a statement which raised worries on the intentions harbored and commitment to the FATF.
“We will not allow any international body to access our intelligence. We will not accept definitions and examples of terrorism from any authority except the U.N. Security Council,” Tayebnia told a parliamentary session.
“And we will not recognize international sanctions on revolutionary individuals and institutions within Iranian territory.”