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Iranian officials quarrel over government corruption

Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani's delivers speech in Yazd province, November 10, 2019
Iranian regime President Hassan Rouhani's delivers speech in Yazd province, November 10, 2019

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, November 11, 2019— On Sunday, Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech in Yazd province that caused much controversy among officials. Issuing remarks about corruption among regime officials, Rouhani, whose own brother and advisor have been imprisoned on corruption charges, triggered a chain reaction of retorts that tell a lot about the current state of the regime.

Rouhani said, “After several years, it is still not clear—the person who stole $2.7 billion of the people’s money and was arrested and sentenced to death and is currently in prison—what happened to this money? Who is responsible? Why the people aren’t made aware of the persons involved in this case? I want authorities to clarify for the people what happened to the $2.7 billion.”

Rouhani’s remarks were an indirect jab at Ebrahim Raisi, the current head of the judiciary and Rouhani’s rival in the 2017 presidential elections. The $2.7 billion embezzlement case was a reference to Babak Zanjani, a merchant who was closely linked to Iranian officials and stole the money while helping the regime circumvent international oil sanctions.

In his remarks, Rouhani referred to several other large embezzlement and corruption cases that are, in one way or another, linked to members of the rivaling faction.

“What about the corruption of the big players? Why aren’t you pursuing those? You can’t fool the people by setting up a few court cases and publicizing them. The figures that I discussed today, they must be explained to the people,” he said, threatening that he will continue to go to other provinces and speak about corruption cases.

While Rouhani was eager to highlight the corruption of his rivals, he said nothing about the corruption that has been plaguing his own government. His rivals took care of that.

Hossein Ali Shahriari, member of the Majlis (parliament), who spoke to the IRGC-owned Fars News Agency, described Rouhani’s remarks as “immoral” and said, “Given that the current administration is in its final two years and has not fulfilled any of the promises it had given to the people, it is now criticizing others.”

Shahriari added, “Many of the people who were involved in serious corruption cases were very close to the president and were officials that were closely tied to him. He who claims to fight corruption must start from his own inner circle.”

Shahriari’s remarks were a reference to Rouhani’s brother, Hossein Fereydoun, who was recently sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges. Fereydoun was a close advisor to the Iranian regime president.

MP Nasrollah Pejmanfar, who spoke at a parliament session, said, “Mr. Rouhani, if you took a look at the demands of the people and didn’t close your eyes, the people are asking about the food on their table, they are questioning you about their economic problems. People want to know why their educated children are unemployed. Mr. Rouhani, let go of the marginal issues. The problem is the people’s livelihoods, their economy, their marriage, their jobs, their food. Until when are you going to blame the previous administration? Even if the previous administration did have problems, you’re coming to the end of your eight years [of the presidency]. Tell us what you did for the people?”

Pejmanfar added, “You repeatedly talked of the nuclear deal. Did the nuclear deal bring food on the people’s table? Did it solve economic problems? It’s enough, Mr. Rouhani. The people want the embezzlers to be dealt with, whoever they are, even if they’re your brother.”