Iran postpones debate on terror financing

It is currently alone with North Korea on blacklist of Financial Action Task Force

Tehran: Iran’s parliament voted on Sunday to suspend discussion of joining the UN Terrorism Financing Convention for two months, while it waits to see whether its nuclear deal with world powers will survive.

The decision is part of an often furious debate among Iranian lawmakers over joining international conventions on money-laundering and terrorist financing.

It is currently alone with North Korea on the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), adding to its woes in accessing global banking. Its status is due for review by the FATF later this month.

But conservative lawmakers strongly oppose new laws aimed at bringing Iran up to international standards, in the works since last year, and unveiled huge petitions against joining the Terrorism Financing Convention on the floor of parliament on Sunday.

They said it would cut off Iranian support to key regional allies, Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas, whose military wings are designated as terrorist organisations by the United States and European Union, among others.

They also said the legislation would condemn members of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards listed as terrorists by the US, including the head of its external operations, Qassem Sulaimani.

“Why do we want to bind ourselves to frameworks and requirements which have been designed by our enemies?” said Hussaini Naghavi Hussaini, spokesman for parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy commission.

Abbas Araghchi, deputy foreign minister, defended the efforts to join the FATF.

“This very parliament was the victim of Daesh terrorism this time last year … Without international cooperation and joining international conventions, it is impossible to confront it,” said Araghchi.

“Inside the country there are some holes and weaknesses in banking networks, which unfortunately facilitates terrorist groups and drug-smuggling,” he added.

Daesh carried out twin attacks last June on Iran’s parliament and the tomb of revolutionary founder Ruhollah Khomeini, killing 17.

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