On January 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two key entities of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s economic empire, their leaders and subsidiaries.
These economic conglomerates include Astan-e Quds Razavi (AQR) and the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), which play crucial roles in the government’s aggressive and oppressive policies.
“EIKO and AQR control large swaths of the Iranian economy, including assets expropriated from political dissidents and religious minorities to the benefit of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian government officials,” the U.S. Treasury Department stated.
“These institutions enable Iran’s elite to sustain a corrupt system of ownership over large parts of Iran’s economy,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, adding that these entities and individuals “enrich themselves while claiming to help the Iranian people.”
— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) January 13, 2021
Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in February 1979, the ayatollahs have either founded or confiscated giant conglomerates to achieve their goals. In this respect, the first Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini added the AQR to his subsidiary organizations. Furthermore, his successor Ali Khamenei founded the EIKO on April 26, 1989, based on Khomeini’s two-paragraph order.
EIKO Monopolizes Iran’s Economy
The EIKO is a business juggernaut under Khamenei’s direct supervision. It has expanded its activities in nearly every sector of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications, and financial services.
In 1979, Khomeini appointed three individuals, including Habibollah Asgaroladi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Hassan Sane’i, to manage, maintain or sell properties confiscated or abandoned during the chaotic years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Since its establishment, the EIKO has been involved in systematic violations of dissidents’ rights by confiscating land and property from opponents, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians. EIKO chief Mohammad Mokhber was directly appointed by Khamenei. He is tasked with implementing the Supreme Leader’s ‘resistance economy’ path.
The EIKO is also activate in the field of medicine and in cooperation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) controls the medicine market in Iran. Recently, Khamenei tasked EIKO with producing domestic Covid-19 vaccines while the company lacks basic infrastructure. In this respect, to control the Covid-19 vaccine production, the government prohibited the import of foreign and credible coronavirus vaccines, which put the lives of many Iranians at risk.
Tehran Exploits AQR to Fund Terrorism
On the other hand, the AQR is a tax-exempt conglomerate that engages in underground and illicit activities with impunity. According to Khomeini’s order, Iranian authorities exploit the institution’s mind-blowing revenue for funding terrorism and warmongering abroad.
The organization is one of the major financiers of the New Horizon seminars and meetings used to recruit foreign agents for the IRGC-Quds Force.
In such meetings and seminars, the ayatollahs’ agents gather from across the globe. According to reports obtained through the Iranian government, these agents provide security intelligence from different countries, particularly Western states, to Iran. The ayatollahs and their security apparatuses use the information for terror attacks.
In summary, the designation of these two giant economic firms that monopolize the Iranian people’s assets for improving the ayatollahs’ ominous proposes is a vital action for restricting Tehran’s malign and terrorist activities in the Middle East and across the globe.
In this respect, dissidents argue that it is imperative that the rest of the world recognize these entities as they are and blacklist them while Ali Khamenei has bluntly announced his decision for more contraction and suffocation inside Iran and export of terrorism abroad.