Iran’s government insists on bypassing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog on combating money laundering, amid opposition from supporters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) cross-border strategy.
Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri called on the country’s Expediency Discernment Council (EDC) to ratify the FATF-related bills as soon as possible.
His demand came four days after FATF had given Iran a final deadline of February 2020 to tighten its laws against money laundering in compliance with the global watchdog’s financial standards.
“If before February 2020, Iran does not enact the Palermo and Terrorist Financing Conventions in line with the FATF Standards, then the FATF will fully lift the suspension of counter-measures and call on its members and urge all jurisdictions to apply effective counter-measures, in line with recommendation 19,” the FATF said in a statement on Friday.
“Given the approval of the FATF and the CFT at a meeting of the heads of the three branches of power and the endorsement of the Leader, the Expediency Council should approve the bills as soon as possible,” Jahangiri said in a speech before a crowd of clerics.
The VP added that people should “be informed about all matters, including negotiations within the government, Parliament…, and the Expediency Council.”
“Nothing new has occurred in the Expediency Discernment Council regarding the FATF bills and the Supreme Leader has not issued any orders on this matter,” Alireza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a member of the Expediency Discernment Council, SAID in response to Jahangiri’s comments.
Last October, Iran's Parliament passed four bills put forward by the government to meet standards set by the FATF.
Only two of them have so far gone into effect and the fate of the two others, one on Iran’s accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the other one a bill amending Iran’s Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) law, is still in limbo at the Expediency Council.
The top legislative arbitration body has to give its final approval for the two bills to become law.
One of the actions Iran is required to take to appease the FATF is joining the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which is also called the Palermo Convention, a 2000 United Nations-sponsored multilateral treaty against transnational organized crime.
The other action is to ratify the CFT, the convention combating financing of terrorism.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, for his part, has criticized FATF for calling upon members to require an increased supervisory examination of Iran-based branches and subsidiaries of financial institutions, calling the move “a political decision.”
“The FATF's decision is absolutely political, and we are totally against it,” he said,adding that “for the sake of our own political interests, we have taken all measures to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism”.