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Iran’s Kleptocracy Allows Incompetents To Decide People’s Fate 

The Iranian regime’s corruption is common knowledge and doesn’t need any peering into the gloom. Iran’s ruling theocracy has all the characteristics of a corrupt regime, which plunders people of their wealth. But the kleptocracy and nepotism in Iran are incomparable with any other dictatorships.  

Iran has had many corrupt rulers. The Shah’s regime was well-known for its nepotism, earning the nickname “The Thousand Families” (Hezar Famil).” Yet, Shah’s action and corruption pale to Iran’s current Thievocracy. Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index ranks Iran 150th out of 180 countries. Meanwhile, the regime officials have been making a great deal of fanfare about “combatting corruption.” This has been the regime’s smoke and mirror strategy to conceal the depth of corruption in its ranks.  

In an article on July 31, the state-run Arman-e Meli daily acknowledged another case of nepotism in Ebrahim Raisi’s government.  

“Nepotism has been considered the government’s Achilles heel. Months after a fiasco about appointing Alireza Zakani‘s son-in-law as a councilor of Tehran municipality, another official’s son-in-law took several positions in one of the most sensitive companies of teachers. He has become practically the helm of the teachers’ reserve fund,” Arman-e Meli wrote.  

According to Arman-e Meli, in May 2022, Hamid-Reza Najafpour, the CEO of the teachers’ reserve fund, appointed Hamid Baghernejad as the head of the fund’s finance and human resources. Bagherenjad currently holds the position of vice president of the Board of Directors of the teachers’ reserve fund. 

Baghernejad is the son-in-law of Raisi’s Minister of Education, Yusef Nouri. Nouri is a high-ranking member of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and previously headed the education officer of Iran’s schools in Qatar and Bahrain.  

Among his other recent position in the teachers’ reserve fund, Baghernejad has eleven different positions, including Nouri’s representative in the teachers’ reserve fund.  

Only a few days in the office, Baghernejad allowed the selling of 25 acres of land belonging to the Lavan Petrochemical Company, which belongs to the teachers’ reserve fund to the Persian Gulf Holding. According to Arman-e Meli, this land is worth 50 quadrillion rials.  

“The 25-hectare land of Lavan Petrochemical Company belongs to the teachers’ reserve fund, one of the most valuable lands in southwest Iran, with a private dock and beach. This land will be handed over to the government by order of Bagheranjad, the representative of the Minister of Education and Culture in Farhangian Reserve Fund, and Alireza Babazadeh, the CEO of Petrofarhang. Apart from the very high price of this company, more than 10 thousand billion riyals have been spent in the past years to set up Lavan,” Arman-e Meli wrote.  

Petrofarhang is a subsidiary of Persian Gulf Holding, a massive conglomerate that controls 45% of Iran’s petrochemical industry. The IRGC Brigadier General Ali Asgari, the former head of Iran’s Broadcasting (IRIB), is the Persian Gulf Holding’s CEO. This holding is among dozens of super-holdings controlled by the IRGC.  

According to the state-run Eghtesadnews on July 31, “With the construction of Lavan Petrochemical on this land, the company’s annual sale of urea and ammonia is more than $500 million, which indicates a significant profit for teachers.” 

It is worth noting that while the Ministry of Education has such resources, Iranian teachers could hardly make ends meet. After many years of struggle, in 1996, Iranian teachers forced the regime to establish a reserve fund.  Since then, Iran’s ruling theocracy has pressured teachers to devour this reserve fund and deprive educators of their fundamental rights.  

“The main purpose of the teachers’ reserve fund is to alleviate the teachers’ living conditions. Teachers who join this reserve fund contribute five percent of their salary to save for retirement. The government was supposed to contribute the equivalent amount but has neglected it ever since,” Arman-e Meli wrote in this regard.  

“The total government’s contribution hardly reaches ten quadrillion rials. The teachers’ contribution by reducing five percent of their salaries reached ten quadrillion rials and then 60 quadrillion rials.”  

Based on the current exchange rate in the free market, teachers have contributed nearly $2 billion to their reserve fund, while the regime has allocated less than $320,000.  

After being appointed to several top positions at the teachers’ reserve fund, Baghernejad is openly trying to devour the Iranian teachers’ life savings. This is how Iran’s ruling kleptocracy plunders people.  

Meanwhile, Iranian teachers and retirees have been protesting daily, calling out the regime’s corruption, mismanagement, and ineptitude. They also oppose the clerical regime’s refusal to address their demands over a growing slate of economic woes, including low wages and pensions, rising inflation, skyrocketing prices of basic goods, and poor living conditions.