US meets Iranian official to discuss ‘terror’ funds Treasury Department official given special permission to attend Paris meeting focused on ways to crack down on financing of terrorism. ‘Meeting part of ongoing effort to address significant threat Iran poses to integrity of international financial system,’ Treasury spokesman says
In a departure from usual policy, a senior US Treasury official met Iranian representatives in Paris last month as part of a multinational gathering to discuss “terror financing,” said US officials on Friday.
Senior Treasury Department official Daniel Glaser was given permission by the Bush administration to attend the Jan. 24 meeting, as required by US policy because contacts with Iran are usually forbidden, said a senior official, who spoke on condition he not be named. Glaser, who is the Treasury Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, co-chaired with Italy a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting to discuss money laundering and how to crack down on the financing of terrorism. “To my knowledge, they did not have one-on-one meetings (with the Iranians),” said the senior US official. “It was something agreed within the US government that Glaser could attend,” he added.
‘Nothing secretive about meeting’
The Treasury Department said the meeting was initiated by the task force, a 34-nation grouping whose purpose is to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. Iran is not a member of the group. “There was nothing secretive about this meeting. It was a multilateral FATF meeting, initiated by FATF not Iran, and Treasury attended in its capacity as co-chair of a FATF working group,” said Treasury Department spokesman Andrew DeSouza. Nearly a dozen other countries attended the meeting, said DeSouza. “(The meeting was) part of an ongoing effort to address the significant threat Iran poses to the integrity of the international financial system,” he added.
Last October, the task force said it was concerned over Iran’s “lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism regime” and urged Iran to tackle this problem on an “urgent basis.” The United States has imposed its own sanctions against Iranian banks and groups for suspected financing of terrorism. In October, Washington designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and imposed sanctions on its elite Qods force.