Palermo Convention: To access or not to access, that is the question!

If you have been following the news lately, you have most probably noticed the buzz around Iran accession to UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, also known as Palermo Convention which is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crimes, trafficking of human beings, and terrorism.

In order to enhance its status from a blacklist of non-cooperative countries, among other requirements, Iran has been conditioned by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to join the Palermo Convention in line with the FATF Standards.

Facing lot of controversies from the start (similar to other FATF bills), Palermo bill was passed by the IRI Parliament on 24 January 2018 and revised twice subsequent to objections raised by the Guardian Council but its fate has been since left uncertain due to the political disagreement between the Parliament, Guardian Council and Expediency Council.

While there are arguments in favor of both supporters and opposers of the bill, it seems that there is a legal loop hole in the ratification process of the bill which has been recently cited by the vice president of legal affairs of presidential administration who believes that there are legal grounds for notifying the bill by the president for the purpose of enforcement considering the fact that  the one year statutory period stipulated within Expediency Council by-law has already elapsed from the submission date of the bill to the said Council.

The latter further argues that the objections made by the Guardian Council were submitted in two separate parts as the Council’s observations and an annexed letter containing the Expediency Council’s comments while the two parts were not integrated as single objection resulting in rejection of the bill based on its contradiction with Sharia or the Constitution Law. Hence, since all the objections made by the Council have been already revised in the Parliament, the bill could be perceived as adopted.

At the time where FATF has extended suspension of its measures against Iran for four more months i.e. until February 2020 to comply with requested recommendations, we might get the answer to our question soon.

Coordinated by Dr. Mahnaz Mehrinfar & Ms. Sahar Sotoodehnia