Analysis by PMOI/MEK
Iran, September 4, 2019–The title is what Masoud Pezeshkian, the first deputy speaker of Iran’s parliament, said recently, expressing his concerns for the plummeting legitimacy of the Iranian regime among ordinary Iranians.
Iranian state-run media from all the ruling factions are full of controversy and infightings about corruption.
“Transparency is responsibility”, “Embedded supervision”, “the rule of law”, “people’s participation”, and most recently “fighting corruption”, are all fancy terms that increasingly pop up in Iranian media and serve two main purposes: Covering the true culprits of corruption and putting pressure on opposing factions to obtain a greater share of the economic pie for one’s own faction.
While the main culprit in corruption is the Iranian regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself, running a multi-billion business in cooperation with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the remaining factions constantly dump each other for the remaining booty.
One of the controversies started when the mullahs’ President Hassan Rouhani on August 28 attacked the judiciary for taking measures against individuals from his faction.
“The more our services decrease, the more our legitimacy decreases,” Rouhani said. “The power of the government, the capabilities of the government, they mean that the government can have the necessary management in tough situations. Otherwise, when someone doesn’t have the mandate, what responsibility do they have? Responsibilities are in tandem with one’s mandate. The government needs to have power and authority. This doesn’t mean dictatorship, or despotism.”
Expressing his fears about the end of his presidency, Rouhani continued: “No more than two years are left to the end of our government. If I had said that during the first year, they would have said that they [us] don’t want any oversight. I’m saying, whoever is the president of this country, whoever is a minister in this country, deputy, manager, if supervising systems meddle in their affairs, the government will be unsuccessful and will achieve nothing. All the managers will abandon initiative and creativity. You can’t work like that! We won’t achieve anything.”
Two days later, Mohammad-Javad Abtahi, an Iranian MP close to Khamenei’s faction, came back at Rouhani. “The president is trying to keep a balance between different issues,” he said. “The president is raising the issue of the judiciary taking care of the cases of the big fish because unfortunately, some of the big fish are around him. It means that even if the President himself doesn’t want these issues to be raised, the pressure that his circle put on him will lead to the president taking a stand.”
On August 31, Hossein Shariatmadari, editor in chief of Khamenei’s mouthpiece, the Keyhan newspaper, attacked Rouhani and revealed some of his corruption-riddled record. “Rouhani says that to prevent corruption, everything needs to be transparent. Rouhani talks about the necessity of transparency while his government is famous for being a ‘government of classifieds’.”
Referring to some of the better-known corruption cases in Rouhani’s government, Shariatmadari continued: “After the story of skyrocketing salaries became ‘transparent’, the government’s spokesperson at the time called some of those on the receiving end of the huge salaries ‘the regime’s reserves and the country’s trustees’. When the exploitation and plundering of trillions of tomans from the trust fund of teachers became ‘transparent’, Mr. President said that it wasn’t corruption, just unpaid bank loans!”
“Still, nobody knows who from the government suggested the 4,200 toman dollar and wasted $18 billion of reserves,” he added.
In Iran, U.S. dollars are bought and sold at two different prices: The state-set fixed price of 4,200 tomans per dollar and the fluctuating market price that runs somewhere between twelve to fourteen thousand tomans.
The declared intent of the fixed price dollar was to enable importers of basic goods and services, and raw materials for domestic manufacturers, to sell their merchandise at reasonable prices. The outcome, however, has been that the cheap dollars were distributed among well-connected elites who made huge profits without adding anything to Iran’s economy.
It’s noteworthy to go back to the full comments by Masoud Pezeshkian, first deputy of Iran’s parliament and close to Rouhani’s faction, where he gives a short but revealing summary of the past four decades of the Iranian regime.
“They are criticizing the achievements of the government. Now, who have been our governments since the beginning until now? First was Mousavi [referring to Mir-Hossein Mousavi who’s currently under house arrest], whose name we aren’t allowed to mention. Then came [Mohammad] Khatami, who isn’t allowed to appear on television now. Then came [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, who they say has a special situation right now. [Abol Hassan] Banisadr fled. [Mohammad Ali] Rajai was killed. [Ali Akbar] Hashemi passed away and Rouhani is in this situation right now,” he continued.
Masoud Pezeshkian concluded with a stark warning: “What is the achievement of 40 years of our revolution? These kind of acts makes the people believe things that are not true and say they are all the same from top to bottom.”