EghtesadOnline: The Iranian Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill aimed at joining the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
In an open session, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the bill that had been submitted to them about four years ago. Adopted by the UN General Assembly on Nov. 15, 2000, and coming into force on Sept. 29, 2003, the resolution is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. Of the 226 MPs present in the open session, 132 voted in favor, 80 against and 10 abstained. As ratified by members of the parliament, the bill contains sections dealing with Iran's stance on various articles of the original convention.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will interpret articles 2, 3, 5, 10 and 23 of the convention based on its internal laws and regulations, and will implement them,” reads a section cited by ILNA.
Article 2 defines the terms used in the convention while Article 3 outlines its scope of application. Article 5 deals with the criminalization of participation in an organized criminal group, whereas Article 10 outlines the liability of legal persons. Article 23 criminalizes the obstruction of justice, Financial Tribune reported.
As approved by MPs, the bill states that Iran does not consider itself bound to the contents of Clause 2 of Article 35 of the UN convention.
The article deals with the settlement of potential disputes and the aforementioned clause begins by noting that any dispute between two or more state members concerning the interpretation or application of the convention that cannot be settled through negotiation is subject to arbitration.
“Six months after the date of the request for arbitration, if those State Parties are unable to agree on the organization of the arbitration, any one of them may refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice by request in accordance with the Statute of the Court,” the clause adds.
The Iranian bill noted that “referring a dispute to arbitration or ICC in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran is only possible by adhering to the IRI Constitution”.
The lawmakers included another section in their ratified bill, stating that Iran will decide on issues related to the contents of articles 15, 16 and 18 of the convention on a case-by-case basis.
Article 15 deals with jurisdiction, with the following article centered on extradition. Article 18 extensively details mutual legal assistance and contains a clause stating that “each State Party shall designate a central authority that shall have the responsibility and authority to receive requests for mutual legal assistance either to execute them or to transmit them to the competent authorities for execution”.
The MPs stated in relation to this clause that the respective central authority will be designated through a decree issued by the Cabinet.
Only last week, a number of high-level parliamentarians and Foreign Ministry officials, including Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and Majlis Research Center Director Kazem Jalali, convened to discuss parliament bills related to the Financial Action Task Force. The UN convention bill was among measures discussed at the meeting.
Iran’s deadline for fully implementing the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regulations is Jan. 31 while an FATF verdict due in February can prove to be crucial.
Hosseinali Amiri, Iran’s vice president for parliamentary affairs, was present in Wednesday’s open session and, in addition to voicing President Hassan Rouhani’s support for the UN convention bill, referred to it as “one of the unavoidable necessities of the country at present”.
“Iran is increasingly facing transnational criminal groups and organized crime because of its geographical location,” he told parliamentarians.
Amiri noted that Iran is seriously committed to working with other countries in combating organized crime, adding that the country’s accession to the convention will allow it to work closely with them in fighting against human, drug and goods smuggling.
The UN convention is supplemented by three specialized protocols: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the Protocol Against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and the Protocol Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition.
Countries must join the convention before they can become parties to any of the protocols.