Parliament elects observer MPs in anti-money laundering council

The council will have three lawmakers supervising its functionality and will try to keep it within the realms of current rules and regulations. The move is significant as it demonstrates the government’s will to move in line with international norms.

19 May 2019
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Lawmakers Qasem Mirzai Niku from Damavand, Shahab Naderi from Paveh and Hossein Reza Zadeh from Kazerun were voted in last Sunday as observers of the Supreme Council of Combating and Preventing Money laundering and Financing of Terrorism Crimes. 

The voting was held to enforce point 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) law that was approved in January by Iran’s Expediency Council, a powerful body that settles disputes between parliament and a watchdog body, the Council of Guardians. 

The parliament, also known as Majlis in Persian, passed the AML bill September last year, one of the four amendments Iran needs to implement to meet Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements. However, the Guardian Council, a vetting body, rejected it, saying it was against Islam and the constitution. That’s why the Expediency Council stepped in to express the final say

Iranian members of parliament approved the creation of the Supreme Council of Combating and Preventing Money laundering and Financing of Terrorism Crimes on September 25. The entity is tasked with overseeing enforcement of measures against such crimes. 

Economic and financial affairs minister has been chosen to run the council that is made up of ministers of trade, intelligence, internal affairs, justice, foreign affairs as well as representative of the judiciary chief, prosecutor general or their representative, head of the inspection organisation of Iran or their representative, head of the intelligence organization of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) as well as the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) governor. 

One of the four tasks of the supreme council is international cooperation and sharing of expertise and experience with other countries about efforts against anti-money laundering. 

In February, The FATF extended Tehran’s deadline until June to fully adopt the remaining financial reforms. 

Last October, the FATF had already given Iran until February to complete reforms that would bring it in line with global norms. 

The FATF concluded at its last meeting that “there are still items not completed” and said in a statement it “expects Iran to proceed swiftly in the reform path”.

“If by June 2019, Iran does not enact the remaining legislation in line with FATF Standards, then the FATF will require increased supervisory examination for branches and subsidiaries of financial institutions based in Iran,” it said.

Apart from the AML law, two more bills on Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and joining the Palermo Convention are still being debated by the Expediency Council. 

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. It opened for signature by Member States at a High-level Political Conference convened for that purpose in Palermo, Italy, on 12-15 December 2000 and entered into force on 29 September 2003.

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