EghtesadOnline: The Majlis Economic Commission will present its report on Iran’s status vis-à-vis the Financial Action Task Force in coordination with the Supreme National Security Council, the head of the parliamentary commission announced.
“Our report at the specialized committee [of MEC] has been prepared and will soon be finalized in the commission. Our only consideration is that because the report is to be read aloud at an open parliamentary session, it should face no problem in the view of the Supreme National Security Council,” Mohammad Reza Pour-Ebrahimi told Mehr News website.
“After the necessary coordination is made with the council and its potential decisions regarding the report are taken into account, the report will be read to the lawmakers in an open session,” he added.
According to the official, the ministries of intelligence and economy presented their own reports on Iran and FATF, which have been reviewed by MEC, Financial Tribune reported.
The parliamentary commission’s report comes months ahead of a highly significant ruling for Iran by FATF, as the international organization in charge of setting regulations and standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) has urged Iran in its latest updated document on engagement with the country to fulfill its commitments by its deadline of Jan. 31, 2018.
The organization will assess progress made by Iran and take all appropriate action at its meeting in February 2018, but until Iran implements the measures required to address its deficiencies, the organization “will remain concerned with the terrorist financing risk emanating from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system”.
Iranian officials had noted earlier that FATF’s stance on Iran is influenced by political motives.
This is while in June 2016, the intergovernmental organization welcomed Iran’s high-level political commitment to addressing its deficiencies and called for a one-year suspension of active countermeasures. One year later, FATF decided to continue the suspension of countermeasures, but did not altogether remove the country from its blacklist of violating countries as many Iranian officials had expected.
The International Monetary Fund in its recently completed Article IV Consultation with Iran also emphasized that amendments to the AML/CFT framework should be passed before the deadline as “continued progress on these fronts will facilitate reintegration into the global financial system by enhancing transparency and governance”.
As Pour-Ebrahimi noted, Iran has taken two major steps in recent weeks for fulfilling its commitments that directly involve the parliament.
In mid-November, President Hassan Rouhani submitted to the parliament the bill aimed at joining Iran to the International Convention for Combating the Financing of Terrorism, the United Nations treaty designed to criminalize financing of terrorism, in addition to promoting cooperation to prevent and investigate the financing of such acts.
One week later, the president presented two bills for making amendments to the current Law of Combating the Financing of Terrorism and the Law of Anti-Money Laundering.
Concerning CFT, the amendments aim to better define examples of national and international terrorist persons, groups and organizations by the Supreme National Security Council, and put in place more efficient regulations to confiscate assets and instruments of terrorism financing.
In relation to AML, the reforms target faults, including lack of proportion between crimes and punishments, lack of deterrence and efficiency of punishments, confinement of the crime only to local sources and lack of prosecuting money laundering crimes independent of the original crime.
“It seems that some of the considerations that we are following up as part of our recent report at the commission about the consequences of joining FATF will be implementable in the form of reviewing these measures,” Pour-Ebrahimi said.
According to the lawmaker, one of the most important aspects of MEC’s report focuses on the following questions: What should we do if we implement all of our commitments and remain in the blacklist? What kind of a guarantee can Iran give after the FATF decision?
“The thing that has led us to this uncertainty is the political actions of a number of FAFT members,” he said in a possible reference to the US and its likeminded allies that have been previously criticized by Iranian officials for allegedly using their lobbying power to keep Iran on the blacklist.
Pour-Ebrahimi noted that Iran’s economic prospects will take a significant blow, if it is fully returned to the blacklist again.