Key Iran council backs anti-money laundering move: state media

DUBAI (Reuters) - A top Iranian constitutional body has approved measures passed by parliament to bring the country more into line with global money-laundering norms, state media said on Saturday, as Tehran tries to attract investments despite the reimposition of U.S sanctions.

Iran has been trying to implement standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global group of government anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-financing of terrorism regimes (CFT), in the hope it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some foreign investors reluctant to deal with it.

In June, FATF said Iran had until October to complete the reforms or face consequences that could further deter investors from the country, which has already been hit by the return of U.S. sanctions this week.

The Guardian Council, which vets legislation passed by parliament for compliance with Iran’s constitution, gave its approval to the legal amendments on combating the funding of terrorism, the council’s spokesman, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying.

Hardliners in parliament have opposed passing legislation aimed at moving towards compliance with FATF standards, arguing it could hamper Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the United States has classified as a terrorist organization.

Saturday’s approval came despite the clergy-dominated council’s earlier objections to another set of amendments linked to money laundering.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in June parliament should pass legislation to combat money laundering according to its own criteria.

Foreign businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they are to increase investment.

Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editint by Mark Potter