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EghtesadOnline: A senior member of Expediency Council, a body that settles disputes between the Majlis and the vetting body Guardians Council, said EC members have not rejected the government bill to amend the country's Anti-Money Laundering Law.

The bill is part of the Action Plan set forth by the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force, which Iran intends to implement before FATF decides on the country's status in its upcoming meeting in October. 

Majid Ansari, who is a member of EC's High Supervisory Commission, said the recent announcement by the council that the AML bill is against the country's major policies was not a rejection of the bill since some of those issues can be resolved with "an extra explanation" of the parliament. 

According to Ansari, a repudiation or acceptance of a bill by EC only happens when the council's members take sides in a dispute between the Guardians Council and the Majlis, Financial Tribune reported.

The Guardians Council, made up of six Muslim clerics appointed by the Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and six jurists elected by the parliament, is charged with ensuring draft laws do not contradict Islamic laws or Iran’s Constitution.

The Expediency Council comprises the heads of the government, judiciary and the Majlis as well as members appointed by the Leader. 

Ansari told Jamaran.ir that he had detected no problem in the bill, but a majority of EC members voted against it.  

Last week, local media outlets reported that in a letter written to the Guardians Council, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the head of Expediency Council, had said the passage of the AML bill would be against the principles of Resistance Economy, investment friendly laws and economic security policies. 

The Iranian government has sent four pieces of legislation to the parliament, which includes amending the country's AML/CFT law in accordance with the FATF standards and joining the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo) and the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. 

In June, lawmakers refrained from approving Iran's accession to the latter convention, referring to uncertainties surrounding the nuclear deal in the wake of the US exit. Lawmakers wanted more assurances from Europeans that Iran will continue to benefit by staying in the nuclear deal. 

In June, the international group that monitors money laundering worldwide said Iran had until October to complete reforms that would bring it into line with global norms or face consequences of remaining in non-cooperative jurisdictions.

Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force in the hope that it will be removed from a blacklist that makes foreign investors reluctant to deal with it. 

In a statement issued in June after a week of deliberations in Paris, the organization said FATF is disappointed with Iran’s failure to implement its action plan to address its significant AML/CFT deficiencies. 

“FATF urgently expects Iran to proceed swiftly on the reform path to ensure that it addresses all of the remaining items in its Action Plan ... We expect Iran to enact amendments to its AML and CFT laws ... in full compliance with the FATF standards by October 2018, otherwise FATF will undertake appropriate and necessary actions at that time,” it added. 

Speedy Measures 

Ansari expressed dissatisfaction with lawmakers' decision to go on a two-week recess under the current circumstances and called on Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani to set up a special committee in this regard with members dispatched to Tehran and facilitate the speedy passage of the bill. 

The senior official added: "We should not provide pretexts to the US and adversaries of the Islamic Republic at a time when the US has been defeated on political and legal fronts by the Islamic Republic and faces isolation." 

"We ourselves are victims of terrorism and should welcome any law that blocks terrorists' financing," he added. 

Ansari also addressed concerns about Iran's support of resistance movements in Muslim countries, an issue raised by FATF opponents, stressing that "this law cannot prevent Iran's actions in supporting resistance groups and no country orchestrates all of its actions within the framework of these laws".

 

EC Iran Expediency Council anti-money laundering AML Bill