Iranian parliament approves bill to combat financing of terrorism

October 7, 2018

TEHRAN – The Iranian parliament on Sunday voted in favor of CFT, a legislation to combat financing of terrorism.

The debate on the CFT kicked off on Sunday morning with 268 lawmakers present in the parliament. A total of 143 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill while 120 voted against it. Five MPs also abstained.

To become a law, however, Iran’s oversight Guardian Council should vet the bill for compliance with the Constitution.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended the parliament to defend the ratification of the CFT bill.

“We cannot give guarantees that by joining the CFT the (banking) problems will be resolved but we can give guarantees that by not joining the bill the United States will invent pretexts to create more problems for us,” Zarif said before the vote.

Zarif said without approving the bill even China and Russia as “strategic partners” of Iran will have problems to do banking transactions with Iran.

Citing an example, the foreign minister said Russia’ central bank governor has told his Iranian counterpart Abdolnasser Hemati that without FATF they cannot work with Iran.

“The Majlis faces a historic decision ... to act along the interests of the nation and take away any future excuses from the United States (to pressure Iran),” Zarif told parliament.

A number of lawmakers also spoke in favor and against the bill.

Speaking in favor of the bill, Behrooz Nemati, the spokesman for the presiding board of the parliament, said the government has so far implemented 40 requirements by the FATF, stressing, “If we do not accept the convention, we have actually done nothing” in this regard. He also said necessary measures should be taken so as “not to give the enemy any excuse for misconduct.”

MP Mohammad Dehqan, speaking against the bill, said the recent depreciation of the Iranian rial was caused by the government’s implementation of some FATF requirements.

“The enemy’s goal has been to put economic pressure on Iran, which occurred due to the government’s naiveties,” Dehqan argued.

Mohammad Feizi, another lawmaker supporting the bill, said accepting the FATF’s rules is a step to meet the global standards on fighting terrorism, adding that it will also be a great help to keep the channels to international financial systems open.

MP Hossein Naqavi Hosseini said the Leader, during his annual meeting with parliamentarians, warned against the approval of conventions imposed on Iran by the enemies. Naqavi Hosseini added, “We all guess what he meant is such conventions.”

After the vote, vocal MP Nader Ghazipour from Urmia said the approval of the FATF is a “black day” to the parliament. He said that in a closed session of the parliament earlier in the day, military authorities warned of the dangers of the FATF but governmental officials insisted on approving the bill, and “eventually a shameful treaty like the Treaty of Paris (1857), Treaty of Gulistan, and Treaty of Turkmenchay was approved in the parliament.”

Meanwhile, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, the Guardian Council’s spokesman, said it is still too early to comment on the content of the bill, and the council will announce its opinion after considering the bill thoroughly.

The Iranian Ambassador to London, Hamid Baidinejad, praised the ratification of the CFT bill in the Iranian parliament, saying it was a manifestation of transparency and democracy.

“… after months of deliberations the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), in a transparent and splendid demonstration of democracy, approved Iran’s accession to the convention on combating funding of terrorism,” Baidinejad tweeted.

MH/PA

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