Iranian MPs Weigh FATF’s Impending Decision
EghtesadOnline: As the 700 delegates from 203 jurisdictions of the Financial Action Task Force Global Network are discussing issues surrounding the security of the global financial system, all eyes are on the Paris meeting awaiting the final decision of the global anti-money laundering group on Iran that has yet to exit the blacklist of the intergovernmental body.
Two lawmakers have weighed on the possible outcome of the group’s plenary meeting scheduled for 21-23 February, which will decide whether to remove Iran from the list of high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions.
Mohammad Hosseini, a member of Majlis Planning and Budget Commission, told the parliamentary news website ICANA that considering Iran’s progress in implementing its action plan, FATF is not likely to keep Iran on its black list.
In June 2016, FATF welcomed Iran’s high-level commitment to address its deficiency of anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism measures and its decision to seek technical assistance in the implementation of the action plan, according to Financial Tribune.
In light of Iran’s demonstration of its political will and firm steps taken in line with its Action Plan, FATF decided again in 2017 to maintain the suspension of counter-measures.
Hosseini said a bill concerning the Action Plan is being discussed in Majlis while another one has been passed and is awaiting the verification of the vetting body Guardians Council.
Amendments to the current AML/CFT laws are currently being debated in the Majlis Legal and Judicial Commission while another bill on Iran’s accession to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism is being debated at the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
In late January, the bill to join the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime was overwhelmingly approved by lawmakers.
Ezzatollah Yousefian Molla, another member of Planning and Budget Commission, however, saw the possibility of Iran remaining on the blacklist but said the reason would not be legislative deficiency sine the parliament is pursuing the matter and one comprehensive law has already been passed.
The lawmaker said western powers will use secondary issues such as Iran’s missile program and its role in Iraq and Syria to exert pressure on Iran and one way of doing this would be to keep Iran on its blacklist, Boursepress.ir reported.
On February 19, United Against Nuclear Iran, an anti-Iran lobbying group chaired by former US senator, Joseph Lieberman, penned an open letter to FATF members, urging them to reimpose countermeasures to stymie what they called “Iran’s financing of terrorism and money laundering”.