EghtesadOnline: As lawmakers discussed the amendment bill related to Iran’s Law of Combating the Financing of Terrorism, disagreements over certain issues, including the definition of terrorism and support for liberation movements, delayed its approval.
The ratification of the bill is a key component of Iran’s action plan to permanently exit the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force–the intergovernmental body that fights money laundering across the world.
ICANA, the parliament’s news website, reported on Tuesday that some lawmakers had gathered signatures demanding that a final vote on the bill be postponed until six months.
Ali Larijani, the parliament speaker, rejected the idea, saying that the government opposes even a two-week moratorium. Larijani subsequently ordered that the bill’s discussion continue, according to Financial Tribune.
Later, however, lawmakers approved that the bill go back to the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission to face more scrutiny. At issue is Iran’s accession to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Lawmakers approved Iran’s accession to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo) in January.
In response to hardliner MPs who claim that the country’s Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Kahmenei is opposed to the bill, Larijani–himself close to conservative factions– said the Leader has no views on the matter and that he believes that the government and Majlis should decide on the issue.
Earlier this month, lawmakers passed the general outlines of the amendment bill related to the current CFT and AML laws, which were first passed in 2016 and 2008 respectively. The bills were formally submitted to the parliament by President Hassan Rouhani on Nov. 20.
MPs, however, decided to discuss details of the CFT bill and address its more controversial points during upcoming sessions.
A week later, lawmakers agreed with the establishment of Financial Intelligence Center at the Economy Ministry to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
The body will monitor suspicious transactions related to money laundering and financing of terrorism.
FATF decided for a third time to suspend its countermeasures against Iran in February. In its statement of June 2016, it welcomed Iran’s high-level political commitment to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies and its decision to seek technical assistance for the implementation of its action plan.
“As Iran provided that political commitment and the relevant steps it has taken, FATF decided in November 2017 to continue the suspension of counter-measures,” the body added.
But the last time around, the body specifically identified what it wants from Iran to address.
Among other things, it requires Iran to “adequately criminalize terrorist financing, including by removing the exemption for designated groups attempting to end foreign occupation, colonialism and racism”.
Critics argue that this condition is out of step with Article 154 of the Iranian Constitution that says Iran “will not meddle in other nations’ affairs, but supports the rightful struggle of the oppressed against arrogant forces anywhere in the world”.
However, proponents of the measures say what FATF really wants is for Iran to identify what it deems as terrorist groups and organizations based on its own standards and those of the United Nations.