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Iranian parliament approves measures to combat terror funding, money laundering

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Iranian parliament approves measures to combat terror funding, money laundering

The Iranian parliament on Oct. 7 narrowly passed new measures against terrorism funding and money laundering as Tehran tries to shift toward global standards in a bid to bolster foreign investments, according to media reports.

The legislation would enable Iran to join an international convention against the funding of terrorism but still require approval from a clerical body before becoming law, Reuters reported. Of the 271 legislators, 143 voted to ratify the convention, 120 voted against and the rest abstained, with strong opposition from the elite branch of the armed forces, the Revolutionary Guards, the judiciary and senior clergy, the Financial Times reported.

Tehran has been trying to enact international standards against money laundering and terrorism funding that meet those set by the Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, which suspended Iran from a blacklist of rogue countries in 2016. The FATF said Iran must implement measures, including ratifying some United Nations treaties, in order to remain off the blacklist, the FT said.

Foreign businesses have said legislation that includes FATF guidelines is critical for them to boost investment, Reuters reported.

While there is no guarantee that Iran's problems would be resolved by the new measures, "we can give assurances that the U.S. will have no excuse to increase pressure on [other countries that] do business with us," the FT quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying. The U.S. pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reinstated sanctions in May, with Washington urging its allies to end their imports of Iranian oil by Nov. 4, although countries such as China have opposed the move.