Iranian legislators pass controversial anti-terror finance bill amid protests

October 8, The Iran Project – On Sunday (October 7, 2018), Iranian parliamentarians have finally passed a bill on the country’s accession to Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) treaty, as one of the four FATF-related bills which Iran had been reviewing for months to approve

According to ISNA, the bill was approved  by 143 votes to 120, but still have to be ratified by Iran’s oversight Guardian Council before they become law.

On June 30, the Paris-based FATF gave Iran until October to implement its standards in order to remove Tehran from investment blacklists. The group also warned Tehran of “appropriate and necessary actions” if it does not enact amendments in full compliance with its standards.

To fulfill the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) demands, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has proposed four bills to the parliament for approval, two of which are still undecided, including the Palermo Convention.

Also in June, the legislators had refrained from approving the bill, referring to uncertainties surrounding the Iran nuclear deal in the wake of the US withdrawal. Iranian MPS asked more assurances from Europeans that the country will continue to benefit by staying in the 2015 nuclear deal accord.

Addressing opposing lawmakers ahead of the vote on Sunday session, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said he could not give any guarantee that approving the FATF-related bills would solve Iran’s problems, adding that but by rejecting the bills Iran could give a pretext to the US to take more measures against the country.

The top Iranian diplomat expressed confidence that the US’ recent sanctions on Iran would fail as they did in the past.

Moreover, before the bill was put to vote, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution’s response to the Majlis query about how to deal with the FATF bills was read out to the Majlis open session.

Ayatollah Khamenei said hat he had no disagreement that the FATF bills to be discussed in Majlis and follow its legal path.

Meanwhile, the success of the vote comes despite a crowd of students held a rally in front of the Parliament building in downtown Tehran to protest against ratification of the CFT convention.

The protesters carried placards that warn of the dire consequences of ratification of CFT by the Parliament.

Approval the bill seems necessary for President Rouhani’s administration as the country faces renewed US sanctions.

Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment.

In May, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA despite objections from other signatories.

Washington has threatened countries to face US financial measures, if they don’t halt imports of Iranian oil from Nov. 4.