Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 14, 2019—Iranian media are reporting an onslaught of citizens from Persian Gulf countries and Iraq who are buying luxury real estate in northern Iran.
The Tabnak website, close to Mohsen Rezaee, former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and current Secretary of the regime’s Expediency Discernment Council, quoted a real estate agent in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran saying Arab buyers are bringing U.S. dollars and buying real estate in enormous quantities at skyrocketing prices.
These buyers are counting on their “influential Iranian friends” to quickly take over vast amounts of land, Tabnak added.
Eghtesad Online, a website close to Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani’s faction that specializes in economic news, wrote on September 11: “Apparently, it works like this: Tourist tours for Mashhad fly from neighboring countries to Tehran. There, they unload their passengers and take them from there on buses or tourist vehicles to Mashhad. Along the way, while entertaining and guiding them, many real estates are presented to potential Arab buyers by real estate agents. In subsequent tours, Arab buyers who’ve made their decision come back with pockets full of U.S. dollars and take over high-quality real estates in northern Iran through their Iranian friends.”
It’s noteworthy that before the hype for buying real estate by foreigners in northern Iran, this same approach was witnessed in other parts of the country.
Mashhadfori, an Iranian website that specializes in local news around the city of Mashhad in northeast Iran, wrote on August 28: “In a mayhem market where even some Iranian real estate owners and investors are liquidizing their capital to transfer outside the country, there is news that some citizens of neighboring states, especially Iraq, are buying real estate in Iran. The presence of Arab tourists, especially Iraqis, in Iran is nothing new. However, reports of buying real estate, and even housing projects, in different parts of Iran is something that concerns the public.”
Back in early 2013, the state-run ISNA news agency published an article titled, “Reports on selling real estate and homes to foreigners.”
“Selling Iranian housing and commerce real estate is an issue that is accelerating in light of, sometimes, radical lenience or maybe even ignorance of some irresponsible authorities. And whatever the results, it won’t be welcoming to Iran’s territorial integrity and domestic security,” the piece reads in parts.
In May, the state-run ILNA news agency published a report titled, “Iraqi citizens’ interest in buying real estate in Hamedan,” a province in north-west of Iran. “According to eyewitnesses, and some real estate agents in Hamedan, foreign citizens in Hamedan, mostly Iraqis, are interested in purchasing real estate in this province. There are instances where they have attempted to buy property under the name of other individuals,” the piece reads.
According to a 1995 decree published on a website affiliated to the “Islamic Parliament Research Center,” an official organization of the regime’s Majlis (parliament), foreigners without a permanent residence permit need to receive explicit permission from Iran’s Foreign Ministry to purchase real estate property in Iran.
In 2014, Rouhani’s government passed a bill in the Majlis paving the path for foreign citizens to buy real estate in Iran.
While Rouhani’s government advertised this move as a method to remove obstacles in the way of attracting foreign investment capital, it swiftly turned into another channel for profiteering of the politically well-connected few while putting Iran’s natural resources and assets on sale.