Dodging Sanctions: EU-Iran Trade Deal Can’t Meet Anti-Money-Laundering Norms

Written by | Friday, May 10th, 2019

Washington said earlier this week that the European Union is not likely to meet anti-money laundering norms and live up to its promise to prevent their conduit for trade with Iran being used to launder money or finance terrorist activity. The leading European powers have set up a special purpose vehicle called Instex, a platform for barter-based trade with Iran, in an attempt to safeguard at least a part of the Iranian economy from sweeping US sanctions and keep alive a big-power nuclear agreement that the White House is saying goodbye to.
France, Britain and Germany have been trying to get Iran to keep its promises under the agreement to cut back its nuclear program which the Trump administration distrusts by helping to circumvent the trade sanctions that the US has imposed again on Iran. The three EU members want the EU to meet the norms set by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, even though Iran has so far failed to achieve full compliance with them.
Full compliance would be, according to US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker, difficult for Iran whose opaque economy is connected to institutions under US sanctions such as the Revolutionary Guard Corps. “I question how that’s even remotely possible … with a country like Iran where the IRGC is so endemic within the economy but also hidden in many different respects,” said Mandelker, one of the chief architects and enforcers of US sanctions against Iran. The White House has already accused the EU leadership of undermining its efforts to isolate Tehran since Donald Trump announced a year ago that it would withdraw from the nuclear deal.

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