Iran's Guardian Council Sends CFT Bill Back to Majlis
EghtesadOnline: The Guardian Council – a watchdog that ensures laws are in line with the Constitution and Sharia–has sent back an anti-terror finance bill known as CFT to the Majlis for reconsideration.
Abbas Kadkhodaei, the council spokesman, said in a tweet Sunday that after several meetings, the Council had found some issues with the bill that contravened either the Sharia or the Constitution or were simply "nebulous."
Kadkhodaei, however, said the move did not mean that the Guardian Council had rejected the bill but rather, the body had simply "expressed its views" regarding the matter and if the Majlis insists on its earlier bill, then the issue will go to the Expediency Council.
No sooner had the announcement been made, markets responded negatively with the stock market reversing its gains in mid-trading. Foreign currencies also gained against the rial simply because any sign that Iran's CFT measures have hit a snag is interpreted by markets that Iran will not be able to find new financial channels in the face of unilateral US sanctions, Financial Tribune reported.
The Expediency Council is a body that resolves disputes between the Majlis and the Guardian Council and comprises the heads of the three branches of government and other members appointed by the Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
The powerful body is expected to rule in favor of what is in the best interest of the country, should the Majlis and council reach a stalemate.
The Majlis had earlier passed amendments to its domestic CFT and AML law as well as a bill to join the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo). Except for the CFT amendment law, the rest have yet to clear their hurdles to formally become law.
A Landmark Bill
Lawmakers on October 7 passed the landmark bill that allows Iran to join the UN convention that aims to cut off terror financing. The measure, which was fiercely opposed by hardline groups, was passed by 143 votes to 120 and was the last piece of legislation sent by the Rouhani administration to the legislature to bring the country in line with global standards on countering financing of terrorism and money laundering.
Iran has been attempting to bring itself in line with global anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism rules since it committed to completing an Action Plan proposed by the Financial Action Task Force.
The country is under pressure to find new ways to maintain connections to the global financial system as the Trump administration imposes measures intended to undermine Iran’s oil exports.
FATF said last month Iran has until February to complete reforms that would bring it into line with global norms or face consequences.
"The Financial Action Task Force decided at its meeting to continue the suspension of counter-measures," it said in a statement.
However, the Paris-based body expressed its disappointment that the majority of Iran's Action Plan remains outstanding and expects Iran to proceed swiftly on the reform path.