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EghtesadOnline: Members of Iran's Parliament convened a plenary session on Tuesday and ratified several articles of the amendments to the country's combating financing of terrorism law presented by the administration of President Hassan Rouhani.

According to ICANA, the official news outlet of the parliament, Article 2 of the amendments, which dealt with punishments for terrorism financers, was approved after 115 voted in favor while 61 opposed it.

"Persons committing financing of terrorism will be punished only when their act amounts to fasad-fil-arz or hirabah, otherwise they will be sentenced to two to five years in prison and a cash penalty equal to two to five times the provided finance, in addition to the government confiscating their assets and capital," reads the article.

Fasad-fil-arz and hirabah are legal terms in Islamic law that respectively mean "spreading corruption on Earth" and "waging war against society", which comprises acts of violent robbery, rape and terrorism, Financial Tribune reported.

Lawmakers also ratified Article 3 of the CFT amendments bill with 121 ayes against 45 nays. Article 4 was also green-lighted by MPs.

Article 3 states that "persons subject to this article are obligated to face blocking of funds and confiscation of assets and properties belonging to terrorists, groups and organizations as listed by the Supreme National Security Council as per the order of judicial officials".

"In case of urgent and emergency cases where access to a judicial official is not possible, they must act as per the aforementioned list and announce the due process to judicial officials within 26 hours," it added.

Article 4 states that crimes subject to the CFT law are not considered political offences.

Failing to Enforce the Law 

Article 5 of the amendments bill was passed with 137 approving votes and 35 against votes. It deals with negligence in implementing the law.

"If any [officials] fail to execute duties outlined in this law, they will be sentenced for being an accessory to the crime and should they commit negligence or nonfeasance in implementing their duties, they will be sentenced to one of the level 7 punishments," the article states.

Level 7 punishments include imprisonment ranging from 91 days to six months, cash penalties of between 10 million rials ($235) and 20 million rials ($470), whipping from 11 to 30 hits and deprivation of social rights up to six months.

The article contains two other clauses, namely that offenders will be punished as per Article 20 of Islamic Punishment Law and that negligence in adhering to the list announced by the Supreme Council of National Security will be considered worthy of punishment. It includes punishments such as dissolution of the legal entity, confiscation of the entire assets, prohibition from one or several occupational or social activities for up to five years, prohibition from undertaking a public offering for capital increase up to five years, cash penalties and the publication of their sentencing by the media.

On Tuesday, lawmakers again sent Article 1 of the CFT amendments bill to the Legal and Judicial Commission of the parliament. The reason behind the decision was that the article, which deals with ways of designating acts of terrorism, contained shortcomings.

President Hassan Rouhani presented the CFT amendment bill in tandem with the anti-money laundering amendments bill to the parliament on Nov. 20. The aim is to address deficiencies in Iran's existing AML/CFT laws to exit the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force, the global body in charge of devising AML/CFT regulations and standards.

The parliament approved the general outlines of the AML/CFT amendments and ratified portions of their details. However, reviewing another government-proposed bill that aims to join Iran to the United Nations International Convention for Combating the Financing of Terrorism was deferred for two months by MPs on June 10.

On June 20, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei directed lawmakers to devise their own AML/CFT laws that are independent of international conventions. 

Some saw this as a final blow to Iran's existing efforts, but others have said the leader's remarks do not mean that efforts, including those related to the CFT convention, are dead.


Hassan Rouhani Iran parliament Iran MPs CFT Amendments combating financing of terrorism law