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Iran Politician Says Campaign Underway To Reject FATF Bills

Majid Ansari, a member of the Expediency Council, says the Council members are intimidated to reject anti-money laundering bills. FILE PHOTO

Speaking at the 18th Congress of Mardomsalari Party on December 2, an influential reformist politician said members of the Iran's Expediency Council are under immense pressure to reject the bills that will allow Iran to join UN anti-money laundering conventions.

Ansari claimed that powerful circles which oppose joining, presumably the Revolutionary Guards whose international financial dealings will have to become transparent if Iran joins the UN anti-money laundering conventions demanded by the Financial Action task Force (FATF), are orchestrating the pressure behind the scenes.

"Powerful circles of a certain headquarter have been sending text messages to the members of the Expediency Council to oppose the FATF [bills]. The text messages are sent from various numbers but are all directed from a specific source," Majid Ansari who is a member of the Expediency Council was reported by the IRNA as saying on Thursday.

The Expediency Council was scheduled yesterday to review the two bills approved by the Parliament but it postponed the review to another session of its Joint Committee without announcing a specific date.

Ansari said the Expediency Council has discussed the bills with its opponents "tens of times" and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has said he has no particular advice about the bills but opponents are still trying to prevent the bills from being finalized.

"The system (regime) must use its problem-solving mechanisms to find a solution to the FATF bills issue to secure the people's interests," Ansari said in a veiled reference to Khamenei's power of intervention to put an end to the objection of the Revolutionary Guards which he directly controls as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Lawmakers have repeatedly protested to the Expediency Council's seemingly deliberate delay in reviewing and finalizing the FATF-related bills.

If not passed before February Iran will be blacklisted by the UN anti-money laundering watchdog which the administration of President Hassan Rouhani says are vital for international trade.