Blumenthal Leads Colleagues Urging Treasury to Justify Action and Hold Iran Accountable for Continued Terror Financing

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Robert Casey (D-PA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) expressed great concern to Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and called on him to provide the evidence used to justify the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to continue the suspension of countermeasures against Iran for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. This June, FATF decided to continue the suspension in spite of Iran’s continued malign activity. This letter follows up on a letter Senator Blumenthal led last year calling for Treasury to hold Iran accountable for terrorist financing following the initial FATF suspension of countermeasures against Iran in June 2016.

The full text of the letter is here, and copied below.

 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

We write to express grave concern regarding the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to continue the suspension of counter measures against Iran concerning its money laundering and terrorist financing activities. We expressed our alarm a year ago when FATF suspended countermeasures against Iran for twelve months, following Iran’s adoption of an action plan to address the country’s woefully inadequate anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. One year later, Iran’s banking system remains deeply opaque, necessitating extraordinary due diligence on the part of those seeking to do business with Iran. Without verifiable changes, Iran should not be afforded an extension of the suspended countermeasures. To ensure Iran is held accountable, we request the evidence used to justify the decision to continue suspending countermeasures against Iran – the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.

Iran has proven it remains staunchly committed to funding terrorism, fueling violence and instability. Iran continues to fund terrorist proxies through loopholes in its terrorist financing laws, flaunting support for groups like Hezbollah and Hamas who are responsible for maiming and murdering Americans and our allies and partners. Further, Iran has only strengthened its support for terrorism in Syria in the last year – supplying money, weapons, and troops to the brutal conflict that has killed and displaced tens of millions of people. Iran has wasted and abused the year it was given to improve its act. It remains a threat to our national security, as well as the safety and integrity of the international financial system.

Iran’s treatment within the international banking system must be predicated on the Iranian government taking real steps to change its AML/CFT regime – not simply based on steps outlined in an action plan. As the U.S. Department of the Treasury represents the United States at FATF, we urge you to address these concerns with FATF and ensure improved treatment of Iran is conditioned on Iran ending its financing of terrorism. Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with you on this matter.