CFT Approval, Another Step to Bypass US Sanctions
Following many ups and downs and flip-flops the Iranian Parliament eventually passed a bill on Sunday on combating the financing of terrorism as part of the country’s implementation of international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
To become law, however, Iran’s oversight Guardian Council should vet the bill for compliance with the Constitution.
The decision will, nevertheless, smooth the path for Iran’s increased financial transactions with the rest of the world, help remove the country from investment blacklists – as it faces renewed US sanctions – and will foil enemy plots to use the allegation of supporting terrorism as a pretext to put pressure on Tehran.
Over the past four months, members of the Iranian Parliament extensively discussed Iran’s joining the convention against the funding of terrorism — Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT).
The bill was approved by 143 votes in favor and 120 against.
By making the move Iran has taken the last step toward becoming an FATF member. A total of 190 countries are already members of the intergovernmental organization.
To join the organization, Iran was required to take four practical steps, of which three had already been made by the the country’s Parliament: Passing the bills to join the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, making amendments to the country’s anti-money laundering laws and revising Iranian law on combating the financing of terrorism.
On May 8, Iranian lawmakers approved the general outlines of the bill to reform the country’s laws on combating the financing of terrorism by 129 votes to 73. The same thing happened in term of the bill to make changes to Iran’s anti-money laundering laws which was passed with 139 votes to 55.
The next step pertained to approving the bill on joining the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime which was enacted with 136 votes in favor and 89 against in an open session of the Iranian Parliament on June 10, 2018.
And finally, the last step was taken, in a historic move, yesterday (October 7, 2017), which is a requirement for Iran to join the CFT.
In the past few days, opposition, by some groups, against the enactment of the bill reached its peak. Nevertheless, Iranian MPs are, more than any other citizen of the country, aware of Iran’s current economic problems and maintain that the Islamic Republic’s membership in the FATF will help resolve a large number of the problems with which it is currently beset.
Since a decade ago (2007) when Iran was placed on the FATF’s blacklist until the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), when the country was suspended from the intergovernmental organization’s list, the enemies of the Islamic Republic have always used this issues as a pretext to place Tehran under pressure
The US, Israel and certain Arab states of the region, which are not happy with Iran’s capabilities, and have failed to present the country’s peaceful nuclear program to the international community as a threat to the security of the world and region, are now, as a last resort, falsely accusing Tehran of supporting extremist groups.
Earlier, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said Iran has been “the world’s central banker for terrorism since 1979”.
This shows that the US is, now more than ever, resorting to this baseless accusation as a tool to express its hostility toward Iran.
Observers are optimistic about Iran’s joining the CFT and, later, the FATF. In addition, the Iranian lawmakers’ decision would pave the way for the unimpeded implementation of the measures taken by Iran and Europe to bypass US sanctions, such as the initiative to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle to facilitate payments related to Iran’s exports, including oil.
This will definitely exasperate the US and Iran’s regional enemies.