Iran approves anti-money laundering bill to ease foreign trade

Iran has approved an anti-money laundering bill, a major step towards reforms that would bring Iran into line with global norms that could facilitate foreign trade in the face of U.S sanctions.

According to the country’s state news agency IRNA, Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental organization that underpins the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Foreign businesses say Iran’s compliance with FATF standards and its removal from the organization’s blacklist are essential if they are to increase investment, especially after reimposition of the U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

However, Iranian hardliners have opposed passing legislation toward compliance with the FATF, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization.

It would be recclled that Parliament last year passed the anti-money laundering bill, one of four amendments Iran needs to implement to meet FATF requirements, but the Guardian Council, a vetting body, rejected it, saying it was against Islam and the constitution.

The state news agency IRNA, also reported that last Saturday, the Expediency Council, a body intended to resolve disputes between parliament and the Guardian Council, approved the bill with some changes.

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