Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, Aug 7, 2019 - On August 4, state-run media in Iran quoted Nasrollah Pejmanfar, member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament) from a faction loyal to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, saying that 60 trillion rials (around $600 million) have been embezzled.
According to Pejmanfar, under the pretext of privatization, the Iran Airtour Airline company, owning airplanes worth at least $600 million, has been sold for $3.4 million. The money was supposed to be paid over three years in smaller installments, but even that ridiculously small amount of payment compared to the actual value of Iran Airtour has not been paid.
Privatization in Iran is a new and modern form of plundering. According to official statistics, since 2002, thousands of Iranian factories and companies have been transferred from the public to the private sector.
Raja news, close to Khamanei factions, wrote on August 3: “The King of paper, king of coins, king of housing, king of meat, king of banana and diapers and dozens of other large and small kings who’ve put economic pressure on the population over the past few months are known to everyone. But who are the enablers of the kings?”
In Iranian media, individuals who illegally import or export a particular commodity, using their connections to the highest levels of the ruling elite, to make huge sums of money damaging ordinary Iranians are usually called the king of that particular merchandise.
Raja news then goes on to blame the regime President Hassan Rouhani’s faction for “enabling the kings,” calling it the root of corruption and finds the reasons in a management style that “creates this life cycle of producing kings by providing economic rents to special groups.”
“A look at the kings that were created over the past two years shows that the current government officials are among the major reasons for this wrong process,” Raja news writes, and adds: “The kings are the fruits of trees who have now become known to the people.”
Raja news further writes that “Jahangiri’s currency has become the source for creating kings” and concludes that “economic rents are always part of the big corruption dossier, yet it appears that those who enable rents are always forgotten.”
In Iranian parlance, Jahangiri’s currency refers to the regime’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, who blueprinted a plan of U.S. dollars sold at two rates: One is the fixed state-set price at 42,000 rials per dollar, and the second rate fluctuates based on market conditions, currently at approximately 120,000 rials.
The dollars at state-set prices are supposedly allocated for specific purposes, such as importing raw materials for Iranian manufacturers, or medicine and agriculture products. In practice, however, the cheap dollars are sold to individuals with excellent connections to the ruling elite who import luxury goods or just resell the dollars on the black market making huge profits.
Jahan-e-Sanat newspaper, close to Rouhani’s faction, on the other hand, admits that corruption is embedded in the entire regime and describes how the government’s approach to the 2020-2021 budget is inflationary ant poor families will feel the burden.
“It is abundantly clear that the government’s approach in reforming the budget’s structure will eventually prioritize the interests of special groups of the society,” Jahanesanat writes and adds that, “Skyrocketing inflation and rising prices will have its toll on the livelihoods of poor people.”
All the while, the Keyhan daily, known as Khamenei’s mouthpiece, reported on August 4 that the people have lost 70 percent of their purchasing power over the past year.
Javad Mansouri, one of the founder of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its first commander in chief, summed the Islamic Republic’s main dilemma in 2013.
“The situation of our country will not improve and our problems will not resolve, as the root of our difficulties lie within. It means that even if it rained gold from Iran’s sky, if we wouldn’t have meritocracy and the rule of law, and if we didn’t follow a plan and if we didn’t abide by moral and religious principles, and if nepotism ruled the country, the situation would be the same [as it is right now],” he said.