Laila Joneydi the Vice President for Legal Affairs has weighed in on Iran’s money laundering legislation controversy. According to ISNA, Joneydi said that money from “organized crime” enters the Iranian financial system because there is “no data about the source and destination” of money transfers.
In the past months the ratification of anti-money laundering legislation, demanded by the international community, has pitted the hardliners and reformists against each other.
Known as the Palermo bills, the legislation would address the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes (UNTOC), Combatting Financing Terrorism (CFT).
If not approved Iran could face further complications in international financial operations. Some of the legislation was approved by the Iranian parliament but rejected the Guardian Council and also the Expediency Council.
On November 11 Zarif decried the extent of efforts that is being put up to defeat the legislation saying "the amount spent for creating an atmosphere against these bills is equal to the Foreign Ministry's budget.”
This statement was quickly met with strong reactions by Iran's conservatives, followed up by the head of Iran’s Judiciary Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani who dismissed Zarif’s statement as “stab right into the heart” of the Islamic Republic ruling system.
Many hardliners including the Supreme leader fear that the legislation would limit or complicate support for groups like Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies.
In the interview with ISNA on November 22nd Joneydi also noted that Iran needs to “have full control to prevent organized crime money, and funds related to smuggling and terrorist activities, from entering our banking system.”
Joneydi went on to explain why the FATF legislation would be necessary, saying that finances “resulting from organized crime and drug smuggling enter the banking system because of the lack of transparency about source and destination of funds.”