Reporting by PMOI/MEK
Iran, June 16, 2020—The chief executive of Iran’s Spec petrochemical company and his cohorts were involved in a 6.656-billion-euro corruption case, the state-run Asr-e Iran news website reported on Monday. The amount is the equivalent of Iran’s entire oil revenues in the 2019-2020 Persian calendar year.
Jalil Sobhani, the executive in question and a regime insider, was arrested in relation to the criminal investigation into the dossier of Akbar Tabari, the executive deputy of former chief of judiciary Sadegh Larijani. Tabari was involved in several corruption cases that would even dwarf Sobhani’s charge.
The stellar amounts exchanging hands and being laundered at the higher levels of power in the regime contrast starkly with the realities of daily life in Iran, where people are struggling to make ends meet. The revelation regarding Sobhani and other corruption cases coming to light in the Tabari investigation happen against the backdrop of a population that continues to deal with rampant poverty, inflation, price hikes, and the depreciation of the national currency.
On the same day, the head of the bakers’ union in Markazi province reported that the price of bread has increased by 40-50 percent in the province and said, “The material used in bakeries has become more expensive. For instance, yeast, which was sold at 600,000 rials, is now being sold at 3,000,000 rials.”
Meanwhile, Mohammad Eslami, the minister of transportation and construction, acknowledged the increase in housing prices and said, “The prices have increased in a bubble-like and inflammatory fashion, and have disrupted public peace.”
The regime’s state-run television reported that the price of home appliances has increased by 40-100 percent. Prices are fluctuating by the day, and in some cases several times per day, according to the people interviewed in the report.
In this regard, the state-run Jahan-e Sanat newspaper wrote on Sunday, “The government has issued permits to raise the prices of some items, including house appliances. In the current year, Iran-made home appliances have become 25-30 percent more expensive. The price of foreign-made goods, which are mostly smuggled into the country, has increased by 100 percent. Meanwhile, not only has the government refrained from taking any action to deal with the chaotic situation, but in contrast, it has issued permits to raise prices.”
On Monday, Jahan-e Sanat reported about the possible increase in the prices of diesel fuel: “These days, some government officials are hinting at the possible increase in the price of diesel fuel and are setting the stage for the repeat of the events that happened after the price of gasoline was double in November.”
In November 2019, a sudden increase in the price of gasoline triggered nationwide protests that spread to nearly 200 cities and rocked the very foundations of the regime. Economic protests quickly turned into a full-fledged national uprising that called for the overthrow of the corrupt regime. The Iranian regime responded by unleashing its security forces, brutally killing more than 1,500 protesters and arresting thousands of others.
While corruption remains rampant at the highest echelons of power in Iran, regime officials continue to dig their hands into the pockets of the Iranian people. The Majlis (parliament) is entertaining thoughts of further raising taxes and prices. Iranian officials, including regime president Hassan Rouhani, have made remarks, claiming that the government will need to cover its budget deficit at the expense of the people.
Meanwhile, the destructive policies continue to take their toll on people’s lives. On Monday, Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghaddam, a member of the Expediency Council, told the state-run 90 Eghtesadi website that two-thirds of the country’s population is under the line of poverty due to government mismanagement.
“The mistrust crisis that exists in the Iranian society today is the result of the decisions of Rouhani’s government, the tenth legislature, and city councils. Economic problems have caused this mistrust crisis,” Mesbahi Moghaddam said. “In the current situation, the people are witnessing leaps in the currency exchange rate, which has multiplied in previous years. Meanwhile, inflation has increased, prices are fluctuating violently, and because of this, two-thirds of the country’s population is under the poverty line.”