Exclusive: Sick livestock imported, budget diverted in Iran ministry

Iran Focus

Tehran, Aug. 10 – Some of the funds allocated in the Iranian government’s budget for the purchase of livestock from abroad have gone missing and are believed to have been stolen by government officials, Iran Focus has learnt.

A senior source in the Ministry of Agriculture has told Iran Focus that the money has been pocketed by officials in the ministry linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The officials have purchased sick cows from Venezuela at very low prices - or “practically free” as the source says - stealing the rest of the money set aside in the budget.

The source, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, claims Iran has turned into Venezuela’s repository for abandoned livestock.

The willingness by a senior source in the ministry to provide the information indicates a high level of tension among top officials in this and other ministries.

There are also discord and discontent among various factions of the IRGC, according to reports from within the Guards.

The feuding has reached the point where IRGC members openly ask each other, “Do you support Ahmadinejad or Khamenei?” referring to the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

There are a rising number of IRGC members and officials who oppose Ahmadinejad and his policies, and that may be why numerous Guards have been sacked in the past two months.

Earlier this month Iran Focus reported that the IRGC was forcing many of its veteran officers who oppose Ahmadinejad’s policies in Isfahan to retire or relocate to non-military posts in ministries, such as the Post and Telegraph or Agriculture.

The agriculture ministry source would not say whether the decision to buy cheap livestock and divert its funds was made solely by officials in the ministry or whether it involved officials in the President’s office as well.