On Monday, Mohammad Reza Moghimi, head of the Economic Security Police, acknowledged a sharp increase in embezzlement and bribery in the first six months of the current Persian Year of 1400, starting from March. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The embezzlements in the first six months of this year has increased by 61% in terms of cases, 94% in terms of the number of defendants and 333% in terms of value in Rials compared to the first six months of last year,” Moghimi said, according to Etemad daily.
Etemad also acknowledged that since “this security official spoke about the ‘discoveries’ of corruption and all kinds of organizational violations, we can conclude that this is only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of such cases, and we should use probably larger numbers to find out the true extent of them.”
But who is behind this “organized corruption and embezzlement” that have plagued Iran’s economy?
“People who engage in large-scale embezzlement have a lot of influence, and because of their political influence, they can easily deal with people who hinder their activities and even challenge the media,” Etemad wrote in this regard, acknowledging all corruption cases finally get to the regime’s top officials.
The Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, controls Iran’s vast financial resources through its financial institutions, front companies, and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
“In our country, there are four institutions which control 60 percent of the national wealth. This includes Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive (Setad Ejraie Farman Imam), Khatam-al-Anbiay Base, Astan-e Quds, and Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled. None of these institutions are connected with the government and parliament,” said Behzad Nabavi, a government minister in several administrations, on September 21, 2019.
Setareh Sobh daily on Monday confirmed this fact by acknowledging that according to the “results of a statistical study conducted at the Statistics Research Institute show that half of Iran’s markets are owned exclusively by one or more companies, and these companies have affected small businesses through corruption. According to economic theories, market monopolies are the primary cause of widespread economic corruption.”
The Javan daily, an outlet linked to the IRGC on Monday, acknowledged that these corruptions result from “economic and social situations. Thus, the corruption is constantly being reproduced.”
Meanwhile, the IRGC dominates a large part of Iran’s economy. The IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters is Iran’s largest construction conglomerate. It began as a contractor of industrial and construction projects in 1989. In its charter, the most important goal of the complex is to “efficiently utilize the available construction and economic resources, capacities and talents of the IRGC to continue the Islamic Revolution.”
Recently, the head of Tehran’s City Council, who is close to Khamenei and the IRGC, announced their intention of handing over Tehran City’s project to Khatam al-Anbiya.
“Our effort is to complete the semi-finished projects and provide the necessary funding. Considering the capacity of Khatam al-Anbiya HQ in implementing projects and mega projects, Tehran Municipality has a great desire to hand over these projects to it,” said Mehdi Chamran, head of Tehran’s City Council on Monday.
As a result of the regime’s institutionalized corruption, Iranians cannot make ends meet. “According to the head of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce, unfortunately, global statistics show that Iran is in the list of 10 countries with the highest inflation growth rate,” wrote the state-run Setareh Sobh on October 4.
“Surveys show that the number of poor people has almost doubled from 2012 to 2019. During this period, 4 million people have been added to the number of poor, and the poverty line has increased from 6.4% to more than 12%,” the state-run Donyay-e Eghtesad wrote on Monday.
Instead of addressing Iran’s economic crises, Raisi has only been giving hollow promises of combating corruption. He could not, as he is corrupted to the bone. Raisi was Astan-e Quds Razavi’s caretaker for three years before becoming the regime’s judiciary chief. He did not act to curb corruption while acting as the regime’s judiciary chief.
Raisi’s minister of Urban and Roads Development, Rostam Ghasemi, was Khatam al-Anbiya’s commander for 12 years. He is well-known for his role in Iran’s largest corruption case in the early 2010s.
Above all, Raisi and his government are handpicked by Khamenei, who is at the top of Iran’s hierarchy of corruption.
“It has been two months since the government began its work. If [Raisi] does not formulate his plans and policies and wants to confront the people as much as the messages, we will naturally face problems,” wrote the state-run ILNA News Agency on Monday.
“Why didn’t Raisi make an effective effort to reduce the people’s livelihood problems in the short term, and in the current situation, the prices of basic goods are still on the rise?” Arman daily further underlined Raisi’s inability to solve Iran’s economic problems.
Raisi has recently ordered prices to remain steady. According to the state-run Arman daily on Monday, if Raisi’s government “wants to mandatory control prices, it will stop production. If the government wants to control prices, it must control inflation. To control inflation, they must use the central bank’s policies and prevent the central bank from compensating the budget deficit [by banknote printing].
This is the only way they can control inflation. The government can’t manage the market by giving orders. This policy has repeatedly failed in recent years.”
The regime’s corruption and inability to address Iran’s economic crises have increased society’s restiveness.
“If the cost of living and the problems we have seen in recent times continue, in the coming months, we will face popular protests due to the living and economic problems,” wrote the state-run ILNA News Agency on Monday.
“The effect of corruption is not limited to the economy. It will have destructive social consequences [for the regime,” Javan daily warned on Monday.
These fears are not unfounded as the Iranian people continue their protests and underline that “only on streets we can get our rights.”
The International community should realize that giving any incentive financial package to the regime would only be lost in the black hole of corruption or be used by the regime to fund terrorism.