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EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani called for appropriate action on the part of all authorities to prevent a break-off in Iran's banking relations with the world, stressing that this is an issue of national interest.

He was referring to the bills containing legal reforms required for compliance with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force, the watchdog for money laundering and terrorism financing worldwide, according to Financial Tribune.

The organization has long urged Iran to meet its global standards, but has extended its deadlines several times.

In mid-October, it gave Iran a final deadline of February 2020 to observe international norms after which it would advise all its members to apply countermeasures.

Iran has already enacted amendments to its counter-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering acts. However, bills to ratify the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (aka Palermo) and Terrorist Financing Convention (aka CFT) have been passed by the parliament but not yet endorsed by higher legislative authorities. 

The two remaining bills failed to win the approval of Guardians Council—a watchdog that ensures laws are in line with the Constitution and Sharia—and was sent to the Expediency Council, a constitutional arbiter between the Majlis and the Guardians Council, for the final decision. 

Rouhani said bills that have been approved by the government and parliament should not remain in limbo and trouble our relations with the world. 

"The government has passed the bills, parliament has endorsed it and the Leader [of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] has explicitly said he has no issue with government bills. How is it possible now [that the relevant authorities remain undecided]?" he said in a meeting with governors in Tehran on Monday, reported. 

He stressed the importance of the bills under present circumstances when the United States is endeavoring to damage Iran's relations with international banks as part of its maximum pressure campaign. 

"This is an issue of national interest, we must all resist and not let [US President Donald] Trump win," he said. 

Washington has reimposed sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal to press Iranian authorities to come to the negotiating table again for a new and more comprehensive agreement. 

The economic pressure has already restricted the country's trade with the world and being placed on FATF's blacklist would further cut down the commercial ties. 



Need for Competitive Elections 

The president also pointed to the upcoming parliamentary elections, calling on the pubic to actively participate to demonstrate the country's power. 

"Majlis elections are very important and everyone should take part… We should all go to the polls even if we feel some discontent," he said. 

He also called on all relevant officials to make room for competition so as to increase the voter turnout. 

The Guardians Council, which is also in charge of vetting candidates, has recently declared a large number of reformist lawmakers ineligible to run for the elections, prompting the government and the reformist bloc to ask the council to reconsider its decisions. 

Rouhani emphasized that people need to be offered options to be encouraged to cast their votes. 

"It is important that people feel they must choose from several options, that would be real elections," he said. 

The 11th round of parliamentary election is due Feb. 21.


Iran Hassan Rouhani FATF banking relations transactions national interest Action Call for Action Sustain Int'l Transactions break-off