FATF not pushed off Expediency Council’s agenda: top MP

December 28, 2019 - 19:34

TEHRAN — Chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Mojtaba Zonnour has said the Expediency Council is still examining Iran’s accession to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

“The Palermo and CFT bills that are parts of the FATF are still being investigated and have not been pushed off the council’s agenda,” Tasnim on Saturday quoted Zonnour as saying.

“A joint committee to examine the FATF bills has been formed,” he said.

Zonnour said he attends the council’s sessions on FATF bills on behalf of the parliament.

Asked about the possibility of the approval of the bills by the Expediency Council, he said, “I cannot say whether the bills would be rejected or approved. A task force comprising experts from the Expediency Council, the Majlis, and the government are still mulling the bills.”

“The task force, after reaching a conclusion on Palermo and CFT, will present its expert opinion at the council and the members will then decide about it,” he added.

Ratifying the FATF-related bills has become a contentious issue in Iran.

The parliament passed the FATF in October 2018. However, the oversight Guardian Council rejected the bill. 

Whenever there is a dispute between the parliament and the Guardian Council on a bill, it will be referred to the Expediency Council for final decision. Now it is up to the Expediency Council to reject or ratify the FATF.

The Paris-based task force said on October 18 that it has 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, Reuters reported.

One of the actions Iran is required to take to appease the FATF is to ratify the CFT, the convention combatting the financing of terrorism.

The government is pushing for the approval of the FATF, but some figures of the principlist camp argue that such act could not resolve any problems, including the sanctions that the United States imposed on Iran after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Hojjatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi, an interim Friday prayer leader of Tehran, has said the FATF is one of the enemy’s tools aimed to hamper Iran’s progress.

“The FATF is one of the enemy’s rings of sedition which it insists upon,” Seddiqi told worshippers in Tehran on Friday.

The enemies are looking for opportunities to undermine Iran’s independence and progress, he said.

MH/PA

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