Tehran has approved an anti-money-laundering bill, local media reported, in a move that is seen as a major step toward reforms that would bring Iran into line with global norms and could facilitate foreign trade in the face of U.S sanctions.
The bill was approved on January 5 by the Expediency Council, an advisory body that mediates disputes between the parliament and the Guardians Council, a powerful vetting body.
The decision by the Expediency Council came after parliament approved the bill last year but the conservative-dominated Guardians Council rejected it.
Iranian hardliners had opposed the bill because it could restrict Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hizballah, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization.
Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organization that underpins the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Iran's compliance with FATF standards and its removal from the organization’s black list is seen as essential to attracting foreign investment investment, especially after the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Tehran last year.
U.S. sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors have hit the Iranian economy and its currency hard.