Iran-US Financial Meeting Nothing Special

A02802413.jpgTEHRAN (FNA) – Iranian Economy Minister Davoud Danesh Jafari downplayed a secret meeting last month between US and Iranian banking officials, calling it “an exchange of views” over the Islamic nation’s new money laundering law.

The minister said the rare encounter was not special, included no senior officials and amounted to the US interest in talking about the new Iranian law.

“There was an exchange of views,” Jafari told reporters in Tehran.

Daniel Glaser, the Treasury Department’s deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes, was the meeting’s co-chairman. An Iranian Central Bank expert and an official from the Iranian Ministry of Economy attended the meeting, Jafari said.

The United States and Iran have had no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Formal contact between the two countries is limited, although meetings have occurred, most recently between the US and Iranian envoys to Iraq on security matters.

The Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, is a 34-nation body which deals with threats posed to the international financial system by money laundering and support for terrorism.

In October, FATF warned Iran that its lack of comprehensive money laundering regulations was a “significant vulnerability” in the world financial system.

Iranian Central Bank Governor Tahmasb Mazaheri said the nation’s recently passed law defines money laundering as a crime.

“This legislation gives the necessary guarantee to the international community about the health of country’s economic system,” Mazaheri said.

Jafari said the government was serious about the new law. “A supreme council for fighting money laundering will be set up,” he said.

Glaser is expected to attend a larger session of FATF later this month. Jafari said Iran will also attend the meeting.

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