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Iran: A theater of fighting corruption with a flavor of tribalism

Blatant examples of the corrupt ruling elites in Iran
Blatant examples of the corrupt ruling elites in Iran

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

 

Iran, May 23, 2019 - A crumbling economy and blatant examples of the corrupt ruling elites in Iran living in luxury have put the mullahs’ regime in a bad spot of public shame and opposition which could turn into violent uprisings at a blink of an eye.

To diffuse the accumulating public anger, the regime in Iran has started another campaign of battling corruption with full-blown support from state-run media. However, the tribal flavor of the current campaign is hard to ignore while it seems that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s faction is handing out the tougher blows to the camp of regime President Hassan Rouhani.

On May 20, Iranian state-run channel II television network broadcast, with much glee, a report about the trial of the son-in-law of Rouhani’s labor minister.

“The second session of the trial for investigating the accusations of Mohammad Hadi Razavi, the super defendant in the Sarmayeh Bank case, was held today, where the representative of the prosecution read out part of Razavi’s accusations for the judge,” the report said.

“He describes himself as a minor defendant for the Sarmayeh Bank. It is true that the capital of the Sarmayeh Bank is just a small part of his accusations, but he [himself] isn’t a minor defendant,” the representative of the prosecution read.

“He has received 1.07 trillion rials [ca. 7.5 million U.S. dollars] of assets and guarantees from the Sarmayeh Bank, and 1.04 trillion rials [ca. 7.2 million U.S. dollars] from Day Bank, Maskan Bank, Tejarat Bank, and Saderat Bank,” the prosecution continued.

“He has bought a Maserati in the name of teachers, a Mercedes-Benz S500 and has had all of them at the same time, not that he would sell one and buy another. There is also news that he enters city streets with special ‘ceremonies,’” the prosecution went on to count some of Razavi’s deeds.

The prosecution goes on to ask Razavi, who has spent Sarmayeh’s money in launching a TV series: “What is exactly your profession, Mr. Razavi? Do you sell Maseratis? Build studios? Sell closed circuit TVs? Do you sell frozen meat and calves? Produce movies? What is your profession?”

Although the minister’s son-in-law is less likely to be a minor offender, if we consider his looting according to just what the prosecution stated, Razavi is right in describing himself as a small-time defendant.

The prevalent numbers in the Islamic Republic of Iran are in the high trillions. 1.04 trillion and 1.07 trillion rials don’t count much. Although, it would make a significant difference for people who sell their kidneys and eye corneas to make ends meet.

On May 21, the state-run Mashregh News website published an article titled “Are some of the government’s officials’ relatives competing for economic rent?”

“Some time ago, the villa-building of Nematzadeh’s daughter [Nematzadeh is Rouhani’s former minister of the industry until August 2017] in Lavasan, which has recently become fashionable in this area with its pleasant climate, grabbed the headlines,” the article wrote.

“Unfortunately, there is no shortage of such reports about the government’s family. From Hossein Feridon, the president’s brother, to Mehdi Jahangiri, the vice president’s brother, and some of the ministers’ children, such news has leaked to the media.”

“During the 2017 presidential election campaign, one of the presidential candidates talked about the import of clothes by the daughter of the then-minister of education and Eshaq Jahangiri defended her saying: ‘The innocent daughter of the minister has tried to do something to make a living.’”

“But now, it appears that the illegal economic activities of governmental relatives and illegal villa-buildings and… [three points are from the source] are increasing,” the article concluded.

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