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As Iran mulls joining financial watchdog, Israel sees win-win situation

If Iran joins the FATF anti-money laundering organization, the Islamic Republic might find it harder to fund militant organizations in the region, but if Iran does not join, it may lose what few international banking connections it already has.
Iranian MP's display their disagreement over the a bill to counter terrorist financing in parliament in Tehran on October 7, 2018. - The bill, one of four put forward by the government to meet demands set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), was passed by 143 votes to 120, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

As Iran's parliament debates whether or not to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — a global organization that develops policies to combat money laundering — recent developments indicate such a move on the part of Tehran would be good news for the state of Israel. 

Pressure from the FATF recently forced the Pakistani government to ban a terror-related organization (Jamat-ud-Dawa) as well as a financial organization with terrorist links (Falah-e-Insanyat Foundation). According to the same report, six Pakistani banks and 109 bankers are being investigated by Pakistani authorities for opening fake bank accounts. What is even more interesting is that Pakistan is not a FATF member, but a member of Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG). However the prospect of being moved to FATF’s blacklist has motivated it to take stringent action. Iran is currently not a member of any anti-money laundering or terror-financing-prevention treaty. Lawmakers have been debating whether to join the FATF and its associated agreements. So far, two parts of the FATF agreement have been approved by Iranian authorities. However two other requirements, namely joining the CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) and the Palermo Convention (the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime) still need to be approved by the Expediency and Discernment Council.

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