Financial Action Task Force tightens screws on Tehran over terror financing

The Financial Action Task Force’s ruling threatens investment in Iran. (Supplied)
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Updated 22 February 2020

Financial Action Task Force tightens screws on Tehran over terror financing

  • Watchdog says Iran failed to fulfill its promises to curb terror financing despite repeated warnings
  • Iran central bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati said the decision will not affect the country

PARIS: An international agency monitoring terrorism funding announced tough new financial scrutiny of Iran on Friday and added seven countries to a watch list.

Pakistan, meanwhile, won a reprieve from the Financial Action Task Force at its meetings in Paris this week. The monitoring body gave Pakistan’s government another four months to crack down on terrorism financing and did not put the country on a damaging “black list.”

Iran and North Korea are the only two countries currently on the agency’s black list. That means international financial transactions with those countries are closely scrutinized, making it costly and cumbersome to do business with them. International creditors can also place restrictions on lending to black-listed countries.

The FATF decided on Friday to further tighten the screws on Iran, imposing extra measures that could require audits or more transactions and make it even harder for foreign investors to do business there.

The group made the decision because Iran failed to fulfill its promises to the FATF despite repeated warnings. In a statement, the organization said that Iran hasn’t done enough to criminalize terrorist financing, require transparency in wire transfers or freeze terrorist assets targeted by UN sanctions.

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The head of Iran’s central bank, Abdolnasser Hemmati, said the decision will not affect the country.

“Such incidents will create no problem for Iran’s foreign trade and currency,” he said in a statement. Hemmati said the FATF decision was based on the “enmity” of the US and Israel toward Iran.

Pakistan, meanwhile, has been trying to get off the FATF gray list, the color code for countries that are only partially fulfilling international rules for fighting terrorism financing and money laundering.

Pakistan’s government has been working to shore up the country’s faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans, making the FATF’s assessment especially important.

The FATF said that Pakistan had fulfilled 14 of 27 steps to get off the watch list, but still must do more to track money transfers and investigate and prosecute terrorism financiers.

The Pakistani government said in a statement that it “stands committed for taking all necessary action required” to fulfill the remaining steps. “A strategy in this regard has been formulated and is being implemented.”

The Financial Action Task Force also put seven new countries on its gray list because of gaps or failures in stemming the financing of terrorist groups or money laundering. The countries — Albania, Barbados, Jamaica, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Uganda — were ordered to take a series of legal and other steps to be removed from the list and avoid further financial punishment.


Dubai ambulance service launches ‘Self Sanitization Walk’ to protect paramedics

Updated 10 min 8 sec ago

Dubai ambulance service launches ‘Self Sanitization Walk’ to protect paramedics

DUBAI: The Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services has launched the first ‘Self Sanitization Walk’ as a safeguard against viruses that its paramedics may pass on to their colleagues and families.

The new device helps paramedics safeguard themselves from any infection that their clothes may catch during the course of working with confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19, WAM state news agency reported.

The ‘Self Sanitization Walk’ has been installed at the entrance of the accommodation facility of Dubai Ambulance’s field workers, along with thermal screening equipment.

The ‘Self Sanitization Walk’ sprays workers with a mist that disinfects clothes in less than 20 seconds. By detecting movements automatically, the device starts spraying only when a person passes through it, helping to save on energy. The device also has hand sanitizers.

“To ensure the safety of the community and the protection of frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, we developed this innovative equipment, the first to be installed in the country. By efficiently sterilizing their clothes and shoes, the ‘Self Sanitization Walk’ allows paramedics and other staff to gain an additional level of protection,” Dubai Ambulance’s Executive Director Khalifa Aldrai said.

“The new device, developed in collaboration with SFFECO Global, enables health workers to perform their duties with a high level of safety.”

CAFU, the region’s first on-demand fuel delivery app, meanwhile said it will provide all ambulances operated by the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services with free fuel for a period of two weeks.

CAFU’s 180 trucks will deliver petrol on-demand to the corporation's fleet of ambulances that operate in over 100 locations across Dubai, bringing contactless fuel delivery to frontline health workers and eliminating the need for them to go to a petrol station.