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Iran’s parliament passes bill against funding terrorism

Iran's 10th parliament inaugural celebration. (Mahmoud Hosseini/Tasnim News Agency)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Iranian parliament has approved a bill aimed at bringing Iran’s laws in line with international standards and allowing the country to join the UN convention against the funding of terrorism, or CFT.

A total of 143 lawmakers on October 7 voted in favor of the bill, 120 voted against, and five abstained, local media reported.

The legislation still has to be approved by a top clerical body, the Guardians Council, before it becomes law.

“Neither I nor the president can guarantee that all problems will go away if we join” the CFT convention, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said during the parliamentary debate.

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“But I guarantee that not joining will provide the U.S. with more excuses to increase our problems,” Zarif added.

Hard-liners in parliament have opposed legislation aimed at moving toward compliance with standards set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The country has long provided support for groups such as Lebanon’s Hizballah movement, which has been designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.

The government of Iranian President Hassan Rohani has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at addressing FATF’s concerns, hoping the body will remove the country from its blacklist, which has added to Iran’s woes in accessing global banking.

In June, the Paris-based FATF said Tehran had until October to implement reforms or face consequences that could further deter investors from the country.

The United States in May withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and in August started reimposing sanctions on the Iranian economy that were lifted under the deal in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Washington has vowed to ramp up restrictive measures against Iran unless the country dramatically changes its policies, including halting its support for regional militant groups.

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The U.S. moves sent Iran’s economy into a downward spiral with the national currency, the rial, hitting record lows.