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NY Times: Only IRGC-tied businesses are benefitting from European contracts

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Iranian companies with ties to the state, such as the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC), are the only businesses benefitting from major contracts announced by European companies, The New York Times reported on Friday.

“Only weeks into what was widely anticipated to be a helter-skelter, post-sanctions rush of Western money and expertise into Iran, limits to the country’s opening are beginning to emerge as the conservative leadership seeks to limit the reach of Western influences,” the paper wrote.

“Behind the headlines announcing big business contracts with European companies it is becoming increasingly clear that, so far, the only deals being struck have been with the state-backed conglomerates. These are the groups that dominate major industrial and commercial sectors of the Iranian economy and are tightly controlled by pension funds and investment companies linked to state organizations, like the Revolutionary Guards.”

“As a result, little or nothing is trickling down to the lower levels of Iran’s beleaguered but still enormous private sector.”

The report also stated that despite the lifting of nuclear sanctions on Iran’s regime “almost all international banks continue to shy away from the Iranian market because of unilateral American regulations that label Iran as a state sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, although sanctions were lifted about two weeks ago, Iranians are already complaining about the slow pace of change.

“One of the few indicators of change visible to all, Iran’s national currency, the rial, has not moved since the lifting of the sanctions,” the report said.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in statement on January 17, 2016 that the lifting of some sanctions shall not at all improve the economic condition of the Iranian people and would rather serve the regime’s policies of oppression, export of fundamentalism and terrorism, and warmongering, particularly the massacre of the Syrian people.

“The major part of Iran’s economy (more than 50% of its GDP) is controlled by 14 large entities, all of which are affiliated with the military and security apparatus and controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” the NCRI statement said.

“Much of the released funds will end up in the coffers of these 14 economic entities. A good portion of IRGC expenditures and the monthly financial assistance to the Syrian dictator is paid up by the profits of these institutions. The bulk of the released funds will flow to these economic hubs and will thus serve Ali Khamenei and the IRGC.”