The “black list” of countries that do not satisfy even basic anti-money laundering criteria is an odd mix. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force includes Vanuatu and Guyana on the eleven-nation roster, while Iran is prominent as the largest economy. That designation consigns Iran to a commercial backwater, despite the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The Rouhani administration realizes that meeting at least minimum standards is a baseline requirement to resuscitate the economy. Hardliners seem to argue that compliance is discretionary. Watch this squabble. The real showdown may be mid-year 2017. At that time, FATF revisits its now-muted approach toward Iran, potentially ordering harsh countermeasures. The milestone could send the Iranian economy back into the deep freeze. ■
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