Only Good News From Iran And Saudi Arabia

Members of Iran’s parliament are urging hardliners to support the country’s bid to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the inter-governmental body that monitors global funding of terrorism. Joining FATF requires Iran to be in compliance with the UN International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), international funding of terrorism laws, international anti-money laundering (AML) measures, and the UN Convention Against Transnational Crime (Palermo Convention). Iran has until February to meet these requirements. It has already approved amendments to CFT/AML laws. But hardliners are stalling the approval of new anti-terrorism funding laws and the Palermo convention that might prevent Iranian support of proxies such as the Houthis and Hezbollah. Supporters of FATF in Iran tell these hardliners that Saudi Arabia would want nothing more than to see Iran fail to join FATF. Joining FATF would allow Iran to come out of isolation and engage in more trade with the outside world. In reality, if Iran joined FATF, then it will have to hold itself up to higher international standards. Iran’s support for the Houthis and Hezbollah will come under more scrutiny. Saudi Arabia would support this scrutiny and any measure that Iran undertakes to be transparent about its dealings with these groups.