Corruption and mafia relations within the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have an intriguing back story. This organization now has nearly full control over Iran’s economy. After the ruinous Iran-Iraq war, the regime gifted the country’s economy to the IRGC to be able to justify its existence, just as it was losing its legitimacy by the end of the eight-year war.
Since then, IRGC has continued its activities as an economic entity in parallel with its main duty as the regime’s guardian and the main force for domestic repression. Every day we see new scandals about the corruption of this organization leaked to the public, which exposes the main reason for all the people’s misery and the bankruptcy of the country’s economy.
On February 10, an article released by RadioFreeEurope exposed the extent of the IRGC’s astronomical corruption. The article read, “Radio Farda has obtained an audio file of about 50 minutes, most of which was a secret meeting and conversation between Mohammad Ali (Aziz) Jafari, the then Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Guards, and Sadegh (Mirza Hassan) Zolghadrnia, the Former Economy and Construction Deputy of the Revolutionary Guards in 2018, regarding the corruption of the forces related to the IRGC Quds Force, the IRGC Cooperative Foundation and the Tehran Municipality.”
The regime’s first response to any criticism about their crimes and corruption is usually public denial. However, their officials and state media have been quick to take the stage and show their frustrations about this latest leak, which has highlighted the gaps in the regime’s security that have led to this information becoming public knowledge.
According to the Fars news agency on February 14, Ramezan Sharif the spokesperson to the IRGC said the evidence that this case is real while trying to exonerate Qassem Soleimani, the eliminated mastermind of the regime’s Quds Force terror organization. “For the past five years, the IRGC supervisory apparatuses have been suspected of mismanagement and misconduct in one of the companies affiliated with the IRGC Cooperative Foundation, according to their current methods and continuous surveillance. After a thorough and professional investigation, the case was referred to the courts, and the judiciary, in cooperation with the IRGC, issued verdicts against the offenders, who are currently serving their sentences,” he said.
Talking about Soleimani, he added, “This incident once again showed that the high-ranking martyr Commander Haj Qassem Soleimani could not be tolerated by the enemy and the theory that the enemy fears the martyr Qassem Soleimani more than (the living) Qassem Soleimani has been proven as an undeniable fact.”
On February 14, Hossein Shariatmadadri, the managing editor of the media outlet Kayhan, regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s mouthpiece, reacted to the disclosure of Soleimani’s role in this corruption case and exposed the regime’s squandering of the country’s wealth for its warmongering activities across the Middle East.
He said, “In a part of the conversation, Qassem Soleimani was also mentioned, and it was noted that the Quds Force was supposed to have a share in the profit of the mentioned company. Which part of this story is disgusting and rude?! Qassem Soleimani received a share for the Quds Force, how did he spend it?”
But even that is not the regime’s main concern about the revelation of such cases. It is the increasing disillusion among its forces and losing its credibility.
Mojtaba Tavangar, a member of the Economic Commission of the regime’s Parliament, whose speech was quoted by the parliament’s news agency ICANA on February 13, said, “The fact that some people inside the country are using this audio file to attack the speaker of the parliament is, willingly or unwillingly, propagandizing against the system and completing the puzzle of the enemies against the IRGC.”
On February 13, the state-run website Nameh News quoted a statement made by Mansour Haghighatpour, a member of the regime’s principlist faction, which highlighted the serious disputes at the core of the regime. The quote read, “With the release of the audio file, they have decided to hurt (Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher) Ghalibaf to get rid of him and synchronize the three branches. This audio file was from 2018, why did they publish it after four years?”
Finally, Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, a former regime Vice President, warned about the social consequences of such revelations on his Telegram Channel on February 13: “The figures, which are easily expressed in the recent audio file by high-ranking officials, remind people of all the budget cuts they hear in response to their demands. Each of these files, if not met with a logical response, would be a painful shock that could tear down the rest of the strands of weak public confidence in the government.”
He added, “Ignorance affects public opinion slowly but badly. The most crucial point is that the grandeur of the security apparatuses will be damaged with all these hacks and leaks?”