IMF: Iran must step up efforts to stem terror financing

JEDDAH: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday that Iran should strengthen its anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing frameworks to comply with international standards by February 2019.

“The reimposition of US sanctions will reduce economic growth by restricting Iran’s oil exports and Iran should implement policies to safeguard macrostability,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said. 

Harvard scholar and Iranian-affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said money laundering and terror financing are deeply embedded in Iran’s political structure.

“In fact, since 1979, it has been a core pillar of Tehran’s foreign policy to achieve its regional hegemonic ambitions and export its revolutionary principles. Financing terrorism is the raison d’etre of the Iranian regime,” he said.

He said Iran will not clamp down on its terror financing and money laundering. “Iran is top state sponsor of terrorism in the world. According to my research at Harvard, the Iranian regime supports almost half of the world’s designated terrorist groups. It is absurd to believe that Tehran will meet any of the IMF’s requirements by February,” he said.

According to Rafizadeh, the imposition of sanctions on the Iranian regime by global financial institutions is long overdue. “The IMF must immediately level appropriate action against Iran’s economy to cut off the flow of funds to terror groups.”

In another development, Denmark said it was consulting with its allies about possible sanctions against Iran after accusing Tehran of plotting an attack against Iranian dissidents living in the Scandinavian country.

“We are going to reach out to our European allies in the coming days to try to find a united response,” Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said during a meeting of Northern European leaders in Oslo.

Meanwhile, Norway summoned the Iranian ambassador on Thursday over the suspected plot.

A Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested in Sweden on Oct. 21 in connection with the plot and extradited to Denmark, Swedish security police have said.

“During the meeting we underlined that the activity that has come to light through the investigation in Denmark is unacceptable,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said.

“We see the situation that has arisen in Denmark as very serious and that a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background is suspected in this case.”

The attack was meant to target the leader of the Danish branch of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA), Danish intelligence chief Finn Borch Andersen said.

ASMLA seeks a separate state for ethnic Arabs in Iran’s oil-producing southwestern province of Khuzestan. Arabs are a minority in Iran, and some see themselves as under Persian occupation and want independence or autonomy.

The Norwegian citizen has denied the charges and the Iranian government has also denied any connection with what Norway suspects is a plot.

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