January 26, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s administration is hanging high hopes on this Saturday to see whether its bid to join the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) goes through, as it faces a serious pushback from the country’s most conservative echelons.
Committees at the cleric-led country’s Expediency Discernment Council oppose the anti-corruption bill, despite its approval by parliament.
The Expediency Council is greatly influenced by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has been a vocal critic of the FATF membership bid, fearing that joining the international body would curb Iran’s activities abroad, especially those carried out by the notorious Quds Force, the foreign arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
The Fars news agency, the official Revolutionary Guards mouthpiece, reported that the defense and judiciary committees at the Expediency Council have rejected the draft law.
The bill on Iran’s accession to the convention against the funding of terrorism (CFT) was rejected by the Guardian Council in early November. The rejection was tied to “flaws” that the Council had found to be ambiguous or against the country’s constitution.
To fulfill FATF requirements, Rouhani’s administration has proposed four bills to the parliament for approval, two of which are still undecided, including the Palermo Convention.
They have been referred to the Expediency Council for final approval. The council is set to meet on Saturday.
MPs had last week asked the council, tasked with settling disputes between the Guardian council and parliament, to intervene to resolve differences, especially with the conservative vetting body calling for amending 22 so-called “problems” in the proposed laws. According to Fars, two of the Expediency’s committees have aligned themselves with the Guardian Council’s positions.