Tehran careful to frame steps against money laundering as independent move

Al-Monitor – One of the most controversial topics as Iranian officials continue to grapple with the re-imposition of US sanctions has been a bill addressing money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In June, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the world’s financial watchdog, extended the deadline to October for Iran to pass and implement legislation against money laundering and combat terror funding. President Hassan Rouhani’s administration supports the bill containing these measures, which could give Iran access to international banks and help resolve the country’s currency crisis.

One source of controversy regarding the bill currently stuck in Iran’s parliament, one of four separate bills included in its FATF action plan, has been the position of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On Sept. 6, Iranian parliamentarian Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted, “I have heard from a reliable source that the supreme leader has stated his approval of the bill combatting money laundering.”

In an interview with ISNA on Sept. 9, Sadeghi, who created a parliamentary faction called “Transparency, Healthy Economy and Fiscal Discipline,” discussed the impact of the draft law. Sadeghi linked Iran’s recent currency crisis, which started 10 months ago, to a “lack of access to international banking networks” and to foreign currencies, specifically the dollar. He added that the currency fluctuations started when countries that were “channels” in Iran’s management of its currency, such as the United Arab Emirates, China, Turkey and Russia, implemented anti-money laundering laws that restricted Iran’s access to foreign currencies. Sadeghi said that the FATF-related bill would help in part to resolve the currency crisis and restore confidence.

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