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Iran Nuclear Chief Cautiously Welcomes FATF Deadline Extension

Head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, 2nd left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, 2nd right, walk together during negotiations at an hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, Sunday March 29, 2015.

One day after the global watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) extended a deadline for Iran to adapt its legislation to international anti-money laundering standards, Iran's nuclear chief expressed his cautious satisfaction.

Media in Iran quotes head of Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi as saying the FATF deadline extension “shows that the other party does not want conditions to reach a point that a sense of deadlock emerges”.

The "other party" Salehi refers to means the United States and probably its Western allies.

He added that Iran is still weighing the option of remaining in or leaving the 2015 nuclear deal known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but it will make its decision “based on national interest” and not based on emotions. “We will evaluate actions and make calculated decisions”, he said.

Iranian hardliners have prevented the final adoption of two FATF requirements against money-laundering and terror financing. President Hassan Rouhani’s government and Iran’s Central Bank have campaigned for the acceptance of the proposed legislation but hardliners close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei have prevented their final approval.

Iran faces the danger of being black-listed by the international watchdog, which would further impede its banking and trade relations with other countries.; even friendly powers such as Russia and China, whose banks will be reluctant to do business with Iran.