School of Law

Research Student: Zeynab Malakoutikhah

The Counter-terrorism Financing Regime in Domestic and International Law: A Case Study of Iran with Special Reference to the United Kingdom

Photo of Zeynab Malakoutikhah

Terrorism is the main concern of the international community around the world; there is a range of methods to combat terrorism which one of the vital ones is counter-terrorism financing. The goal of my research is to examine the Iranian legal framework, practice and policy regarding its counter-terrorism financing regime in order to make recommendations for appropriate policies and regulations of counter-terrorism financing. It attempts to reconcile Iran to the international community with inspiration from the United Kingdom and international legal and policy framework, in particular after lifting sanctions on Iran by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1 countries. The three fundamental pillars of the thesis are legitimacy, effectiveness, and fairness, which will be used as standards to assess international and domestic law to combat financing terrorism.

The central questions of my research are “To what extent have international law and policy on counter-terrorism financing been reflected in the national law of Iran?" and "What are the obstacles within Iran to adjusting its legal regime of counter-terrorism financing to bring it in line with the international standards and expectations?”.

To answer these questions, firstly I will examine the international counter-terrorism financing framework. Secondly, I will analyze the Iranian counter-terrorism financing regulations. Finally, I will use the United Kingdom Counter-terrorism financing framework, as a policy transfer approach, for Iran. My ultimate aim is to provide academic publication, which assists the Iranian decision-makers to understand better the international law of counter-terrorism financing and to make better-informed decisions as for how to respond financing terrorism.


I graduated from Azad University, Iran in 2012 with a First-Class in Law. Later, in 2016 I hold an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Reading University with Merit.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

By the end of my graduation, I focused on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. During conducting my LLM dissertation, ‘The Jurisdiction of International Criminal Court (ICC) over the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)’, I have been interested in understanding how terrorism can be stopped by extinguishing its funding tunnels.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

After the completion of my PhD, I would like to work as a post-doc researcher, carry on conducting research within an academic environment, teaching, and share my experience with policy-makers through ongoing research.

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