Iran approves anti-money laundering bill

Iran is alone with North Korea on the Financial Action Task Force’s blacklist. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Iran approves anti-money laundering bill

  • ‘The bill on amending the law to counter money laundering was approved with certain changes and will be sent to the parliament speaker to be communicated to the government’

TEHRAN: An Iranian arbitration body gave its approval on Saturday to an anti-money laundering bill seen as crucial to maintaining international trade and banking ties, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“The bill on amending the law to counter money laundering was approved with certain changes and will be sent to the parliament speaker to be communicated to the government,” Expediency Council member Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moghadam told IRNA.
The Expediency Council settles disputes between parliament, which approved the bill last year, and the conservative-dominated Guardian Council, which vets all legislation and had rejected it.
Conservatives have argued that new legislation on money laundering and terrorist financing will provide Western powers with leverage over Iran’s economy and how it funds regional allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
But the government of President Hassan Rouhani says the laws are needed to meet demands set by the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which monitors countries’ efforts to tackle financial crime.
Iran is alone with North Korea on the FATF’s blacklist — although the Paris-based organization has suspended counter-measures since June 2017 while Iran works on reforms.
The FATF will meet again in February to discuss Iran’s progress.
The government is hoping to salvage banking and trade ties after the United States walked out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran and reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions.
The other parties to the deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — have sought to salvage the agreement and maintain trade with Iran, but have called on Tehran to meet FATF requirements.
The anti-money laundering bill is one of four pieces of legislation put forward by the government to that end.
A previous bill on the mechanics of monitoring and preventing terrorist financing was signed into law in August.
Two others — allowing Iran to join UN conventions against terrorist-financing and organized crime — have been approved by parliament but are still being delayed by higher authorities, including the Guardian Council.
The Expediency Council currently has 38 members, all appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


BP and SOCAR sign new Azeri oil deal

Updated 19 April 2019
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BP and SOCAR sign new Azeri oil deal

  • The Azeri Central East (ACE) platform, the latest phase of Azerbaijan’s giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oilfields extension program, is expected to produce 100,000 barrels of oil a day
  • BP and the government of Azerbaijan extended their agreement to continue developing the ACG fields until 2050 in a major deal in 2017

BAKU: Oil major BP and Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR signed an agreement on Friday to build a new exploration platform for the South Caucasus nation’s three major oilfields, BP-Azerbaijan said in a statement.
The Azeri Central East (ACE) platform, the latest phase of Azerbaijan’s giant Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oilfields extension program, is expected to produce 100,000 barrels of oil a day and cost $6 billion to build, the company said.
The project is one of the biggest upstream investment decisions to have been signed in Azerbaijan so far this year.
The ACG fields, which to date have produced around 3.5 billion barrels of oil, are estimated to have the potential to yield another 3 billion barrels.
BP’s main aim now would be to maximize the extraction of remaining reserves, Robert Morris, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in a statement.
“ACE is central to those plans, adding 100,000 barrels per day of production at peak in the mid-2020s,” he said.
BP and the government of Azerbaijan extended their agreement to continue developing the ACG fields until 2050 in a major deal in 2017.
Separately, SOCAR and its partners at the BP-led ACG consortium plan to participate in a tender to acquire stakes being sold by two of its members, ExxonMobil and Chevron.
SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev made the announcement to reporters following a meeting of senior SOCAR figures on Friday.