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Monday, July 16, 2007

Will Iran's possible territorial designs on Bahrain affect you?

Will Iran's possible territorial designs on Bahrain affect you?

Posted by my friend Ken Rijock, at World-Check.Com

15 July 2007

Hossein Shariatmadari, the leader of Iran's most conservative hard-line newspaper, Kayhan, in an editorial, has stated that Kingdom of Bahrain is a province of Iran, and that its people want to return to Iranian control. Residents of the former British Protectorate protested this week in front of the Iranian Embassy, demanding that the ambassador be expelled, and the Embassy closed, in response to the publication of this opinion. It remains to be seen whether a diplomatic crisis can be averted. Compliance officers, please pay attention; there may be more going on than political maneouvering.

Iran laid claim to Bahrain in 1970, but the island nation wisely chose independence the following year. Since Iran's press is government-controlled and influenced, the issue is whether this is an early indication that Iran has territorial aspirations, in the Persian Gulf, outside its national borders. Similar posturing emanated from Iraq before its invasion of Kuwait during the first Gulf War.

Compliance officers at financial institutions with branches or correspondent relationships should be monitoring unfolding political developments, not because Iranian forces will be on the attack tomorrow (the US Navy uses Bahrain as a base of operations), but because money launderers and other financial criminals may choose to take advantage of the confusion to move funds or commit crimes.

Whenever there is a chaotic political or economic situation, money launderers may seek to exploit what they correctly see as compliance inattention, due to inattention, staff who are not on the job, or other factors that may cause inefficiency in the compliance process.

Therefore, watch financial transactions in or out of Bahrain for unusual funds transfers during the coming weeks.

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