Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, August 29, 2019–Earlier this month, after being summoned to the National Inspection Organization, Ali Ashraf Pouri Hosseini, the former president of the Privatization Organization of the Iranian regime and head of Hassan Rouhani’s presidential campaign in Azerbaijan, resigned from his job. Shortly after his resignation was accepted by the Iranian regime’s minister of economy, he was arrested by Iranian authorities.
The Privatization Organization is the government institution that has been liquidating the public assets of Iran and selling them to private owners, most of whom are closely tied to Iranian regime officials, at very low prices.
Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, who was the regime’s general prosecutor in 2018, had previously declared that Pouri Hosseini was banned from leaving the country. This shows that Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Iranian regime and the man who has the final say on all matters of state, had already chosen his escape goat for the worsening economic situation that would ensue.
One of the charges of Pouri Hosseini is forfeiting Dasht-e Moghan Agro-industrial Complex to a person who had a 13.5-trillion rial banking debt.
Ahmad Alireza Beigi, MP from Tabriz, had also said that Pouri Hosseini had indirectly sold the Ardebil Meat Complex to himself through the Privatization Organization at a very low price.
Also happening under Pouri Hosseini’s watch was the privatization of the Haft Tapeh sugar mill. Haft Tapeh, which was the largest agro-industrial sugar factory in the Middle East, was sold to two private companies, Ariak and Zeus, for 60 billion rials, a tenth of its actual value. The new owners refrained from paying the wages of the workers on time, appending Haft Tapeh to the long list of Iranian factories and companies whose workers are faced with long-term delays in receiving their pay. The deteriorating work conditions led to strikes and protests by the workers of Haft Tapeh, which quickly gained support from other segments of the Iranian society and labor activists and unions across the world. The Iranian regime controlled the protests not by responding to the demands of the workers, but by arresting and torturing them and punishing them with heavy prison and flogging sentences.
Other major industries that were destroyed by the Privatization Organization were HEPCO, Iran’s largest manufacturer of industrial machinery, and Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG), which resulted in major protest by their workers.
Khamenei officially launched the privatization program in 2005. A year later, the government was tasked with transferring 80 percent of the public assets to the private sector.
Pouri Hosseini has claimed that he has done nothing in violation of laws. He believes that he has only implemented in earnest and precision what has been passed into law based on Article 44 of the constitution (the privatization act).
The truth is that Pouri Hosseini is right. He has been following the orders of his leader Khamenei, passed into law by the Majlis (parliament) and approved by the Guardian Council, which is to destroy the economy and industries of Iran to the benefit of regime officials. The privatization of Iran’s industries, in which all the key institutions of the Iranian regime are involved, has made Iranian officials rich and the people of Iran poor, unpaid and unemployed.