Rouhani Anticipates Passing Laws That Allow Iran to Join FATF

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows President Rouhani wearing a protective mask while chairing a cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran on November 11, 2020. (AFP)
A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows President Rouhani wearing a protective mask while chairing a cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran on November 11, 2020. (AFP)
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Rouhani Anticipates Passing Laws That Allow Iran to Join FATF

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows President Rouhani wearing a protective mask while chairing a cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran on November 11, 2020. (AFP)
A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows President Rouhani wearing a protective mask while chairing a cabinet meeting in the capital Tehran on November 11, 2020. (AFP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is anticipating passing bills that would allow Iran to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which sets standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Two years ago, the government has introduced several bills to the parliament, including amendments to two local laws, in addition to the draft law to join the Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and the UN’s Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo), which paves the way for Iran's compliance with FATF standards.

Last week, the government said that supreme leader Ali Khamenei agreed to discuss FATF again following talks between Tehran and Western parties on coordinating efforts before the new US administration takes office, which pledged to rejoin the 2015 nuclear accord and ease the sanctions imposed on Iran.

In this context, Iranian officials raised the issue of financial transactions related to COVID-19 vaccination, in an attempt to support the government’s decision to hold new talks on FATF.

Rouhani said Saturday that Washington was demanding Iranian transactions for novel coronavirus vaccines pass through US banks, and he expressed fear the money could be seized.

"Who can trust people like you? You have stolen our money everywhere you found it," Rouhani said, addressing the US administration.

"We want to transfer money from a country where our money is" to buy the vaccine and "this country has accepted", Rouhani added, without identifying the country in question.

For his part, Mohammad Sadr, a former reformist diplomat, said Saturday that there is likely to be less opposition from the Expediency Council to the bills designed to bring Iran in line with FATF regulations.

"We hope for a resolution to the issue if the government can present a good and well-documented case," Sadr said.

Another member of the 44-member Expediency Council, hardline politician Mostafa Mir-Salim, however, declared that the council will turn down the bills.

“Circumstances have not changed,” he told Borna News on Saturday.

“There is more evidence now that in view of the cruel continuation and deepening of the [US] sanctions, joining the FATF [conventions] will be damaging to the country, revolution and people’s interests.”



Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
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Drive to End Global Hunger Has Stalled, United Nations Warns

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)
A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve today -(Reuters)

A goal to eliminate global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly impossible to achieve, with the number of people suffering chronic hunger barely changed over the past year, a UN report said on Wednesday.

The annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report said around 733 million people faced hunger in 2023 -- one in 11 people globally and one in five in Africa -- as conflict, climate change and economic crises take their toll.

David Laborde, director of the division within the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which helps prepare the survey, said that although progress had been made in some regions, the situation had deteriorated at a global level.

"We are in a worse situation today than nine years ago when we launched this goal to eradicate hunger by 2030," he told Reuters, saying challenges such as climate change and regional wars had grown more severe than envisaged even a decade ago.

If current trends continue, about 582 million people will be chronically undernourished at the end of the decade, half of them in Africa, the report warned.

A broader objective to ensure regular access to adequate food has also stalled over the past three years, with 29% of the global population, or 2.33 billion people, experiencing moderate or severe food insecurity in 2023.

Underscoring stark inequalities, some 71.5% of people in low-income countries could not afford a healthy diet last year, against 6.3% in high-income countries.

While famines are easy to spot, poor nutrition is more insidious but can nonetheless scar people for life, stunting both the physical and mental development of babies and children, and leaving adults more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.

Laborde said international aid linked to food security and nutrition amounted to $76 billion a year, or 0.07% of the world's total annual economic output.

"I think we can do better to deliver this promise about living on a planet where no one is hungry," he said.

Regional trends varied significantly, with hunger continuing to rise in Africa, where growing populations, myriad wars and climate upheaval weighed heavily. By contrast, Asia has seen little change and Latin America has improved.

"South America has very developed social protection programs that allows them to target interventions so they can effectively move out of hunger in a very fast way," said FAO's chief economist Maximo Torero.

"In the case of Africa, we have not observed that."

The United Nations said the way the anti-hunger drive was financed had to change, with greater flexibility needed to ensure the countries most in need got help.

"We need to change how we do things to be better coordinated, to accept that not everyone should try to do everything but really be much more focused on what we are doing and where," said Laborde.

The report is compiled by the Rome-based FAO, the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development, its Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization and World Food Program.