Iran will combat global terror financing? Worst joke of the century.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, voted Sunday to join a global convention to cut off terror financing.
Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said 143 out of 268 lawmakers voted in favor of the country’s acceptance of the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) standards set by the International Monetary Fund’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council, a constitutional authority, to become a law.
Iran has a vast network of terror cells working around the world and has long provided support to the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, as well as Palestinian terror groups such as Hamas.
Ironically, accepting the CFT standards is unlikely to prevent Iran from continuing to support such groups.
By joining CFT-compliant nations, Iran would be required to adhere to standards of the FATF, an intergovernmental organization that targets money laundering around the world. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the body increasingly offered ideas on how to combat terror funding.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Sunday’s vote a “historic decision” that would make it easier for Russia and China — which also signed the nuclear accord — to continue doing business with Iran as the US restores economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
‘A Near-Global Terrorist Reach’
Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, the Trump administration said in an annual report in September.
The State Department’s annual survey of global terrorism accused Iran of intensifying numerous conflicts and trying to undermine governments throughout the Middle East and beyond. Iran’s “terrorist affiliates and proxies,” the report said, “demonstrated a near-global terrorist reach.”
The report comes as the Trump administration is toughening its stance against Iran. President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear accord with Iran earlier this year and has begun to dismantle sanctions relief granted under the 2015 deal.
Re-imposing sanctions is one part of a larger effort by the US to cut Iran off from funds used to support proxy forces and support other “malign activity” in the region, including terrorism, according to Trump administration officials.
The financial crisis in the Islamic Republic has significantly affected its terror proxy Hezbollah.
“Iran uses terrorism as a tool of its statecraft, it has no reservations about using that tool on any continent,” Ambassador Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, told journalists recently.
He cited Iran-linked fundraising networks in West Africa, weapons caches in South America and operational activity in Europe.
The report specifically cited the activities of Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the powerful Revolutionary Guards commander.
Iran uses the Revolutionary Guards “to provide support to terrorist organizations, provide cover for associated covert operations, and create instability in the Middle East,” the report stated.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said sanctions are an important pillar in US policy toward Iran and will remain in place until the Iranian government radically changes course.
“They’ve got to behave like a normal country. That’s the ask. It’s pretty simple,” said Pompeo.