Corruption in All Three Branches of the Iran Government
By Mohammad Sadat Khansari
A current conservative populist politician named Ahmad Tavakoli believes that the corruption we witness in Iran (which has created fundamental economic issues) is systematic in nature, and as put by Eshagh Jahangiri (the first vice-president of Hassan Rouhani’s government) “is deeply rooted”.
In a talk with ISNA (August 15th 2018), an economist named Vahid Shaghaghi explains: “the lack of transparency has unfortunately led to rent-seeking, distrust, and ultimately corruption”. He added that certain minorities that are linked with the government, which he refers to as the “rich groups”, don’t pay any taxes, whilst “all other regular people with regular incomes, do”
Shaghaghi also believes that in order to eliminate such corrupt relations, and to subsequently improve the economy, many people “must come off the train of revolution”, by which he means that many current officials must be replaced with non-corrupt ones. However, he also admits to the challenges that will come with such attempts, especially considering the deep roots of these corruptions: “rent-seeking people will make sure to stop any transparencies or improvements”.
Another economist named Hossein Raghfar, also acknowledges that “we are witnessing many corrupt relations being formed within the government’s three branches, as well as the parliament and affiliating half-public sectors; these include various kinds of illegal speculations, brokerages, rent-seekings, and power plays; all of which are destructive not just for our economy but society as well; which is reflected in the observed rates of poverty, drug addictions, suicides, and so forth”. (ILNA, August 17th 2018)
By “half-public sectors”, Raghfar is referring to certain economic institutes that were at some point, especially at the time of Ahmadi Nejad’s presidency, under the full control of government affiliated organisations, such as that of the Revolutionary Guards.
Raghfar had also previously stated: “over the past 40 years, something around 400-500 individuals have been making the main decisions for our country; who are all well known to the public too. Therefore, they’re the ones responsible for the ongoing economic crimes; however, none have ever been dismissed from their positions. We can clearly see a pattern here, where instead of taking any responsibility, or apologising and resigning, corrupt officials only continue delaying their transparency with the public!” (ILNA, June 29, 2018)
As also believed by government’s own economists, the non-transparency of such corrupt authorities is the reason why they don’t come forward and do absolutely nothing to eliminate or reduce the consequences.
What shouldn’t be ignored is the faulty structure of Iran’s political system, which is the cause of all these corruptions in the first place. A theorist from the regime itself, acknowledges that: “the corruption taking place within our government should be our main target of combat, and any religious affiliations within our system must also be rid of immediately”. (Tasnim, August 16th 2018)
However, as we all know, it’s nearly impossible to fight such severes issues in a government that is run by corrupt Mullahs; as a Persian proverb says, “a fish rots from the head down”, which means that the source of corruption is at its very core; which in this case means that the only way to solve Iran’s economic issues is to eliminate its entire political structure and replace its government with a democratic one.
Mohammad Sadat Khansari is a researcher analyst and consultant, specializing in Human Rights, political and social affairs. He has expertise in Iran, and the Middles East affairs.