Need for Continuing Efforts to Pass FATF Laws


The government needs to continue efforts to pass the laws related to the standards of the Financial Action Task Force after the global watchdog placed Iran on its blacklist, an expert said. 
Hassan Beheshtipour, an international affairs analyst, said in an interview with ISNA that the administration needs to declare at international assemblies that Iran is still trying to convince domestic opponents of the required reforms to win affirmative votes for the FATF-related bills. 
“We need to strengthen our position in the international monetary and financial systems, and following FATF instructions is one of the options that give us this opportunity,” he said. 
FATF is an intergovernmental organization that monitors money laundering and terrorism financing worldwide. 
It has called on all countries to adopt a set of standards or it would advise all its members to apply countermeasures.
The Paris-based organization had urged Iran to conform to its norms and extended its deadlines several times before finally placing it on a blacklist when its final deadline expired on Feb. 21. 
"Definitely, this will have consequences for Iran in various aspects that cannot be denied or downplayed," Beheshtipour said. 
The Iranian government has prepared four bills proposing legal reforms to meet FATF standards. 
Amendments to its Counter-Terrorist Financing and Anti-Money Laundering acts have already been enacted, but the bills to ratify the Palermo (Convention against Transnational Organized Crime) and Terrorist Financing conventions have not been verified by the higher authorities yet, despite their passage in the parliament. 
Laws passed by the Majlis go to the Guardians Council, the vetting body responsible for ensuring they are in line with the constitution and Islamic laws. 
The council referred the FATF laws back to parliament for revision several times and the bills eventually ended up at the Expediency Council when the two bodies failed to see eye to eye on their details. 
However, the Expediency Council, which is a constitutional arbiter between the Guardians Council and parliament, did not issue its final vote within the FATF deadline. 



Best Solution 

Beheshtipour said the best solution was for the Expediency Council to pass the laws with the reservations recommended by lawmakers.  
"Accepting these regulations and agreements with conditions, like many other international deals, is quite normal and has happened previously," he said, adding that a majority of countries have approved Palermo and CFT, but implement them based on their own domestic laws. 
He said the modifications proposed by the Majlis offer a moderate and practical solution. 
"We could easily refuse to implement the part that we do not agree with … We have practically self-sanctioned ourselves by refusing to adopt the regulations," he added.
Besides, he explained, nothing would happen to Iran anytime soon because it takes time before laws are fully put into practice. 
The Cabinet issued a statement following the FATF decision, stressing that Iran agrees with the global financial requirements and already implements them in its domestic laws. 
It also emphasized that the administration "strongly believes that the existing obstacles to the ratification of those two bills must be removed to deny the ill-wishers of Iran an excuse".
"We will pursue our measures in this regard and do our utmost to settle the issue, improve the conditions and prevent any harm to national interests and the intensification of sanctions on the lives of people," it said.

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