Iran’s Supreme Leader has told officials to stop in-fighting, as the regime is mired in debate over an accession to an international convention against terrorist finance and money laundering.
Membership of the Financial Action Task Force is vital if, facing economic problems, Iran wants to establish links with the European Union. But hardliners object that this could affect the Islamic Republic’s ties with groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Parliament has passed the Rouhani Government’s bills for accession, but the Guardian Council, which monitors all legislation, has blocked the legislation. The Expediency Council has failed on five occasions to resolve the dispute.
On Wednesday, the Assembly of Experts warned about the “strategic” danger of accession to the conventions.
Addressing the Assembly yesterday, Ayatollah Khamenei framed his comments as “identifying the realities of the battlefield” against the West and “failing to understand facts”. He told officials “not to be at each other’s throats over this or that convention or agreement”:
When a certain convention or agreement is being discussed in the county, supporters and opponents should express their points of view, and the two sides should not accuse each other of camaraderie with the enemy.
He continued, “Making wrong statements will serve the enemies’ plots.”
Our real enemy is the U.S. and we will not make a mistake in identifying our enemies. U.S. and Zionists have mobilized all their facilities and capabilities against the Iranian nation and on the peripheries, Westerners and Europeans also practice enmity against Iran in some way. pic.twitter.com/mFrmphPh3X
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 14, 2019
Khamenei has not issued a direct statement against accession to the international conventions and the FATF, but he is believed to be influential in the resistance, including the Assembly’s criticism on Wednesday.
The Supreme Leader has repeatedly criticized the negotiations with the Europeans. Last week, his office released a July 2018 video of Khamenei warning the Cabinet about dealing with a “vicious” Europe “acting in a nasty way”.
Khamenei enjoined his officials on Thursday, “Because of your upright abhorrence against the enemy, you should not accuse those you do not agree with of compromising with the enemy.”