Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
The United States and an international task force have threatened Iran with financial penalties, accusing it of violating international guidelines designed to block money-laundering and funding of terror groups.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a speech in Orlando, Florida, on June 21 called out "Iran's willful failure to address its systemic money-laundering and terrorist-financing deficiencies."
Mnuchin was speaking at a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a 38-member global organization created to fight money-laundering, financing of militant networks, and other threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
FATF had suspended measures against Iran, but it warned Tehran in February it would be subject to increased scrutiny if it failed to implement promised reforms by the end of June to prevent money-laundering and terror financing.
In Orlando, FATF announced it had set a new deadline of October for Iran to comply with international guidelines or face additional sanctions.
"The FATF expects Iran to proceed swiftly in the reform path to ensure that it addresses all of the remaining items," a statement said.
Mnuchin said the FATF would call sanctions to be reimposed "if Iran does not make further progress," and would require "increased supervisory examination for branches and subsidiaries of financial institutions based in Iran."
U.S. President Donald Trump in May 2018 pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal that Iran signed with world powers. The pact provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
Trump said the terms of the deal were not strict enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and that Tehran had violated the “spirit” of the accord by supporting extremist violence in the region -- a charge Iran has denied.
Iran’s economy and its currency have been hit hard by the fresh U.S. sanctions, and the country would likely suffer further if additional measures were set down.
Tensions have risen over recent incidents in the Persian Gulf region, including attacks on oil tankers that the United States and some allies have blamed on Iran. Iran has denied any involvement.
On June 21, Trump confirmed that he had approved, then called off, a limited military strike on Iranian sites in retaliation for the earlier downing of a U.S. surveillance drone.
Iran claims the $160 million unmanned drone was over its territory, while the Pentagon said it was over international waters.