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FATF laws continue to pit the Iranian regime’s factions against one another

Tension over FATF and CFT
Tension over FATF and CFT

Analysis by PMOI/MEK


Jan. 5, 2019 - With less than 45 five days remaining to a deadline for the Iranian regime to pass the necessary laws under the FATF and conform to international norms and laws for combatting terrorism financing, the Guardian Council has rebuked the CFT (Combatting the Financing of Terrorism) bill, the most important of four necessary legislations.

The Guardian Council is a body of 12 clerics, six of which are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader. The other six are chosen by the regime’s parliament from among jurists introduced by the head of the judiciary, who is also appointed by the Supreme Leader. The body is tasked with vetting parliament legislations against the so-called Islamic principles of the regime.

In this case, the Guardian Council stated that its previous list of 20 reservations about the bill are still standing and that the proposed bill does not conform to the Iranian constitution and Islamic laws.

This marks a new chapter in the ongoing battle between the two major factions among the Iranian ruling theocracy.

“The Financial Action Task Force’s convention has a definition of terrorism that conflicts with the constitution of the [Iranian] regime,” said Saeed Jalili, former member of the Iranian nuclear negotiations team and current member of the Expediency Discernment Council.

And no wonder; running “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror” needs a constitution that provides for the right ideology and necessary tools to leave the competition in the dust, which consequently makes it to contradict with the inter-governmental world’s body whose stated purpose is the development and promotion of policies—national and international—to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

While trying to play the victim’s part by saying that the Iranian regime was itself the target of terrorism and more than 17 thousand Iranians have died in terror acts, Jalili, who was giving a speech in Shiraz University, added: “The important thing is that this convention wants to define terrorism in a way that is in contradiction with [our] constitution. This convention raises conditions for us on money laundering, combatting terrorism, commitment to the Palermo convention, and accepting the Combatting the Financing of Terrorism convention.”

Jalili’s speech begs a more fundamental question about the Iranian regime’s goals and objectives from the nuclear negotiations and final deal, considering that he was a member of the nuclear negotiations team.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the Iranian political aisle, Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, a former MP and secretary general of the Front of Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader—close to the so-called moderate faction—­expressed confidence that the Iranian regime will join the FATF conditionally while keeping its reservations.

About the approaching deadline of FATF and when the Expediency Council will resolve the CFT issue, Bahonar said in a press conference organized by the state-run Khabaronline website: “Bills and laws can’t contradict the general policies of the [Iranian] regime. While the parliament is studying the bills and laws, the supervisory committee of the Expediency Council tries to negotiate with the parliament so that the contradiction with the general policies are resolved. Amending of the anti-money laundering laws may be completed by next week in the [Expediency] Council.”

The Expediency Council is tasked with resolving the conflicts between the Guardian Council and the Majlis, the Iranian regime’s parliament.

Earlier, Ahmad Tavakoli, another member of the Expediency Council, also reiterated the necessity of joining FATF and said: “Not joining FATF will raise the costs for the country. Therefore, we should accept it while adding a few conditions.”

Assurances by high ranking members of the Expediency Council that the FATF bills will be passed despite opposition from conservatives is a sign that Ali Khamenei, the regime’s Supreme Leader who has the last say in all matters of strategic importance, knows that there is no option but to join the convention. As Tavakoli said: “If we don’t join the FATF, there will be further blows to the [Iranian] regime.”

While the Iranian regime accepts the FATF bill to prevent “further blows”, combatting money laundering and financing of terrorism—the very essence and purpose of FATF— “conflicts with the constitution of the [Iranian] regime,” which is based on the idea of Velayat-e Faqih, or the uncontested rule of the clergy.

One of the pillars of the current Iranian constitution and the ideology that “legitimizes” the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Quds Force, the Supreme Leader’s statute and mandate is based on exporting terrorism to the region and the world—especially the Islamic world—branded as revolution.

Unless the Iranian regime’s lobby around the world, which doesn’t care much for anything but the blood-stained petrodollars flowing out of Tehran, manages to sell an Iranian version of condition-riddled FATF laws to the international community, the mullahs are in for a hell of a ride.

Depriving the ruling theocracy in Iran of the ability of exporting fanaticism through its countless proxies and minions around the world will leave behind a toothless lion whose slow but spectacular death will become something to remember for history books.

So, as much as the Iranian people and their resistance are concerned, go ahead, pass the FATF laws or don’t. One way or another, the medieval theocracy’s fate is sealed.