Iran Regime Won't Pass Anti-Terror Funding Bill as Terrorism Is Keeping It in Power
By Amir Taghati
The Iran regime’s parliament is set to discuss Countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT) bill this week, while the Iranian Expediency Council has begun discussing the Palermo bill, as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) deadline to pass anti-terrorism financing bills draws close.
Iran will need to pass both these bills in order to comply with international anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws and standards and evade yet more international sanctions, but they’ve become yet another source of factional infighting within the Regime.
Those mullahs who are part of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s faction, classed as “hardliners” by the West, are worried about the increased action over the bills, which need to be passed in less than a month if Iran hopes to comply with FATF, even resorting to creating a hashtag to oppose the passage of these bills.
High-profile cleric Hossein Nouri Hamedani said: “FATF is an oppressive treaty and it’s not in the country’s interests to pass it and we can’t keep silent [about that].”
It’s interesting that he considers additional transparency and not funding terrorists to be outside of Iran’s best interests. This is tantamount to admitting that the Iranian Regime funds terrorism across the Middle East; something they do not want to stop doing.
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said that huge money laundering networks that benefit the powerful were the reason behind the Khamenei faction’s rejection of FATF, but, while there is no doubt that money laundering is a primary revenue stream for many of Iran’s officials, it is not the only reason. It’s equivalent to pleading guilty to burglary when you’re faced with a murder charge.
While the President Hassan Rouhani faction, wrongly termed as “moderates”, is desperate for the FATF bills to pass in order to evade at least some of the sanctions levied by the US after Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year.
Rouhani ran on a platform of lifting sanctions and normalising Iran’s relations with the rest of the world, but their relations have been anything but normal and he has so far only succeeded in getting nuclear-related sanctions lifted for a small amount of time. If Iran does not pass FATF, then even its close allies will have to stop working with it.
Laya Joneydi, Rouhani’s legal deputy, said that passing the FATF bill would allow Europe to set up the financial mechanism for evading US sanctions, despite no evidence that this would work as evading the sanctions would be an illegal move by the EU.
On January 19, Iran’s state-run national television Channel One reported that the Expediency Council was investigating the Palermo bill, but that Council chair Sadegh Amoli Larijani, who is also head of the Iranian judiciary, prevented the bill, which has already gone through Parliament, from being passed to the Council. Larijani wished to challenge previous considerations issued by former Council chair Mahmoud Shahroudi and Parliament’s amendment to the bill.
The report said: “In today’s meeting where the foreign minister was also present, members, after expressing their different views, scheduled the rest of the investigations to meetings of the political, defence and judiciary commissions.”
However, on January 20, the Parliament reiterated its amendment to the Palermo bill and sent the Expediency Council the nine problems that the Guardian Council had found with the CFT bill.
Of course, there is another reason that Iran would not want to comply with the FATF bills and that is ideology.
The Regime is founded on the idea of exporting their malign and bloody revolution across the Middle East and eventually the world. To do that, they need terrorists and to get terrorists they need to pay. Iran can’t stop funding terrorists or they’d be admitting that their Regime is not going to last.