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Iran Hardliner Council Delays Approval of Anti-Money Laundering Bills Again

A view of The Expediency Discernment Council of the System session on Wednesday, January 01, 2019.

Iran's Expediency Council on January 1 postponed the review and finalization of two bills that will prevent Iran being blacklisted by the global anti-money laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The decision about the bills have been postponed to the next session of the Joint Committee of the Expediency Council, Fars News Agency reported.

The FATF bill which the parliament approved more than a year ago will allow Iran to join the United Nation's Palermo Convention Against Transnational Organized crime while the CFT bill, also approved by the parliament, ensures Iran's compliance with anti-money laundering measures which prevent financing of terrorism.

FATF is set to fully blacklist Iran if the country does not join its anti-money laundering conventions before February.

Iran's hardliners who are presumably following Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's guidelines are against joining the FATF despite the President Hassan Rouhani administration's repeated warnings about an acute financial crisis if Iran is blacklisted.

Sadeq Larijani, the Chairman of the Expediency Council, who is strongly against Iran joining the FATF, on Wednesday said his "personal view is that the Palermo and CFT bills are very dangerous for Iran's national security.

A day earlier Larijani had said that ratifying these bills is even worse than the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) for Iran's national security.

On Tuesday, the President's Legal Deputy Laya Joneidi in a tweet said: "Rejecting these bills will result in everyone requiring us to provide information for every transaction but if we join they will only ask for information if a transaction is suspicious."

In a program aired by the state-run television on Tuesday Joneidi defended the Rouhani administration's insistence on joining the FATF and warned that if Iran does not join it even Iran's friends such as Russia and China will not be able to trade with Iran.