Ecuador says Iran ties landed it on laundering list

SANGOLQUI, Ecuador (Reuters) – Ecuador’s inclusion on an international list of nations accused of lagging in the fight against money laundering is a hypocritical punishment for its relations with Iran, Ecuador’s president said on Saturday.

“What arrogance! And why? Because we have relations with Iran. That’s it,” Rafael Correa said at his weekly town hall meeting. “This is imperialism in its most base form. … This has nothing to do with the struggle against money laundering.”

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, comprising governments and regional organizations, named Ecuador this week among Iran and others as nations failing to comply with international regulations against money laundering and financing terrorism.

Under the leftist Correa, Ecuador has strengthened diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran, which has opened an embassy in Quito and is forging wider relations across Latin America despite the concerns of Washington.

The United States and its European allies have been trying to pressure Iran to suspend its disputed nuclear program, which the West fears is a cover to build bombs. Tehran says it is for peaceful purposes.

“We have been blacklisted along with Iran, Ethiopia, Angola and North Korea. We are the financiers of terrorism in the world!” Correa said indignantly.

“It’s a stick so you don’t misbehave, naughty boy. You didn’t do what I said, don’t get involved with Iran. So because you went ahead,… >>>

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