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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Rep. Royce calls for blacklisting, countermeasures to protect international financial systems from Iran

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In order to shield international financial markets from Iranian money laundering and terrorist financing, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said last week that the Financial Action Task Force must continue to blacklist Iran and re-impose countermeasures.

Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on the Trump Administration to pressure the Financial Action Task Force to maintain its designation of Iran as a “high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdiction” when it meets next month.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Royce wrote that the move would protect U.S. national security and the integrity of the international financial system.

“It will also send a powerful message to the brave Iranians who took to the streets earlier this month,” the letter stated. “Money laundering is a key element of the endemic corruption that the regime uses to enrich itself and support terrorism abroad. These abuses were at the heart of the protests. This is an opportunity to stand with the Iranian people against a regime that steals the wealth of a great nation to oppress its people and sow instability across the Middle East and beyond.”

The task force agreed to suspend countermeasures in June after Iran agreed to address money laundering and terrorist financing. Royce argued, however, that money laundering and terrorist financing are “central to the Iranian regime’s destabilizing foreign policy.”

“The State Department has designated Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984,” the letter stated. “The Treasury Department has also labeled Iran as ‘primary money laundering concern’ since 2011 — a recognition that any financial transaction with an Iranian bank or entity risks supporting the regime’s illicit activity.”

Royce concluded that money laundering is a “key element of the endemic corruption” that the Iranian regime uses to enrich itself while supporting terrorism abroad.