There is no doubt that Iran suffers greatly from institutionalized financial corruption, as evidenced by the fact that Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index ranks Iran
149 out of 180 countries, but still officials can shock Iranians and the world at large with the related information.
Former minister Mohammad Gharazi said last weekend that Tehran has had “$4 trillion in revenue” since 1979, but that 2-3 trillion was “destroyed by rent-seeking activities”. Just days before that, attorney general Ali Alghazi Mehr advised that a criminal case was being filed against the former president of the Central Bank Valiollah Seif for his role in a major embezzlement case involving $30.2 billion and 60 tons of gold.
Alghazi Mehr said: “Between 2016 and 2018, not only the country’s currency laws were breached, but also the legal responsibilities pertaining to the intervention of the Money and Credit Council on issues related to currency and the sale of gold coins to prevent the formation of brokerage markets were not respected.”
Last month, judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili said that over 200 judiciary staff members were arrested on corruption charges, with the former executive deputy of the judiciary chief Akbar Tabari held on charges relating to billions of dollars of embezzled money.
Regarding the two others charged alongside him, Tabari said during his trial: “I and [Hassan] Najafi and [Farhad] Mashayekh are like three brothers. If I need 8 trillion rials, these brothers will provide. If I want the Lavasan factory, they will register it under my name! This is friendship. If you don’t have these kinds of friends, you have nothing to say to me. If they want the same from me, I will do it for them.”
Here are some other known corruption cases in Iran that prove just how widespread the issue is:
- 180 trillion rials: Babak Zanjani, state-affiliated businessman
- 80 trillion rials: Bonyad-e Shahid foundation
- 5 trillion rials: Saeid Mortazavi, former attorney general
- 30 trillion rials: former labour ministry
- 23 trillion rials: Mohsen Rafighdoost, former Revolutionary Guards commander
The Iranian opposition, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, in this regard wrote: “The flipside of this mega-corruption is the tragic situation of the Iranian people, who have to find shelter in graves, food in [the] garbage, and sell their body organs to earn their keep. With the revelation of every one of these cases, the people become even more outraged and determined to overthrow this regime and bring decency back to their country.”
The consequneces of these unbridled corruption can be see in the dire condition of the people’s lives.
The Friday Prayer’s leader Razavi Ardakani of Shiraz about the people’s situation, while expressing his fear about protests said:
“They said, No, the people will not come (to vote), so, what is happening that they will not come? The pressures of inflation pushed many away from the revolution, these imprudences, so this is the livelihood basket of the people, and that what is important, is the lielihood basket of the people. The worker which his salary is not enough, or the one who does not get paid at all, you (the government) must be aware of the situation of the people.
“Not controlling the prices will stress the people, they may even say bad things, now in Shiraz you cannot find any chicken.” (State-TV Fars Channel, May 13, 2021)
Qasem Soleimani Dashtaki, the governor in Khuzestan admitted on Wednesday, May 12, that the unemployment rate in this province is higher than 45 to 50 percent.
He said: “Usually the announced unemployment rate is not the real unemployment rate. The unemployment rate in Khuzestan is announced at 14.5 percent, but if you look to the province, you will see that this rate is definitely higher. According to the criteria, if someone works two hours a week, it is not included in the unemployment rate statistics, but this does not make sense at all, and in many areas of Khuzestan province, the unemployment rate is higher than 45 to 50 percent.”