Sunday, September 26, 2021
HomeIran News NowInside Iran’s Army of Terror and Oppression: Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) - Part...

Inside Iran’s Army of Terror and Oppression: Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) – Part 2

An in-depth look at the IRGC’s financial empire

Our previous piece about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) portrayed an overall picture of Iran’s army of terror and repression. The first part of this series exposed the IRGC’s organization, how it functions, and its role in preserving the mullahs’ regime’s grip on power. In fact, the IRGC is the main force of the regime, which both oppresses people inside Iran and exports chaos and terrorism abroad. But the question is how this entity is funded?

The previous part showed partially how the IRGC has monopolized Iran’s economy. In this piece, we intend to show how the world’s largest terrorist organization is funded. The following information is from “The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire,” a book published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) United States Representative Office.

Our last piece revealed the names of 14 powerhouses that are under the supervision of the IRGC and Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader. These 14 powerhouses oversee the looting of Iran’s economy and fund the IRGC’s activities and its subsidiaries, such as the terrorist Quds Force and Basij militia.

These 14 powerhouses are:

The 14 powerhouses and large economic institutions that control Iran’s economy are as follows:

  1. The Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam (Setad)
  2. The Mostazafan (Oppressed) Foundation
  3. Astan-e Qods-e Razavi
  4. Shahid (Martyr) Foundation
  5. Emdad (Aid) Committee
  6. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Cooperative Foundation
  7. The Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters
  8. The Cooperative Foundation of the Bassij Force
  9. The Ghadir Investment Company
  10. The Armed Forces Social Welfare Investment Organization (SATA)
  11. Khatam al-Osia Construction Headquarters
  12. The Cooperative Foundation of the State Security Forces (NAJA)
  13. The Cooperative Foundation of the Army (BTAJA)
  14. The Cooperative Foundation of the Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff (VDJA)

IRGC's powerhouses

Now let’s take an in-depth look at these foundations. The information below are excerpts of NCRI-US office book “The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire.”

1. SETAD-E EJRAIY-E FARMAN-E HAZRAT-E EMAM

Setad-e Ejraiy-e Farman-e Haz- rat-e Emam or Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam (the U. S. Treasury Department refers to this entity as The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order ‘EIKO’), herein referred to as Setad, is the richest and highest revenue-generating enterprise controlled by Khamenei. On June 4, 2013, the Treasury Department subjected this entity and 37 of its associate entities to sanctions pursuant to Executive Order 13599, which blocks the property of the Government of Iran.

Setad’s influence and domination over the Iranian economy surpass even that of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It is the most assertive of the so-called “non-government public sector” companies when it comes to the confiscation of assets. An important difference between Setad and other similar institutions in the sphere of the velayat-e faqih’s influence is that it has been able to take possession of some of the most profitable and largest commercial and financial firms, thanks to the direct and daily backing of Khamenei himself.

Supreme Leader Khamenei is the direct overseer of Setad, an organization with assets worth approximately $95 billion

A Reuters investigation published in 2013 estimated Setad assets to be worth around $95 billion. Those assets not mentioned in the Reuters report, but listed below, reveal the wealth of Setad to be much more than this estimate. In reality, Setad is the engine of Khamenei’s “synergy” strategy for the Iranian economy.

The mandate of the “Tadbir Energy Development Group”, one member of the Setad conglomerate, is “to establish a powerful international oil, gas, petrochemical and energy producer through the creation or ownership of effective shares of active companies or companies with potentially viable assets.”

A review of Setad’s activities also confirms that this complex is one of the most important interlocutors for transactions with western companies.

For example, in the conclusion of this text, mention is made of some pharmaceutical components of Setad with French, American, British, Italian, and Swiss companies.

The new administrative organ of Setad has 100 employees and is authorized to make policy and supervise the institution’s activities. The members of this board are handpicked by Khamenei himself. They include the likes of mullah Hossein-Ali Nayyeri, a judge during the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners; Hossein Shariatmadari, an interrogator, torturer, and now Khamenei’s representative in the state-run daily Kayhan; and Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, Khamenei’s chief of staff.

To strengthen the financial backbone of Setad, in 2010, Khamenei transferred close to $1B worth of assets from Astan-e Abdol-Azim in Rey city to Setad.

Who is Ali Khamenei Iranian regime supreme leader

The names of some of the parent companies within this conglomerate are:

The Tadbir Energy Development Group

The Tadbir Energy Development Group, also sanctioned under Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations by the U. S. Treasury Department, has the following holdings:

Tadbir Energy Development Holding Company: This enterprise is active in the exploration and production of oil and gas, refineries, petrochemicals and other commercial pursuits. It has been reported that the so-called “Peace” pipeline project in Pakistan, a deal worth about $500M, belongs to this holding. 80 percent of another project to build a refinery in Hormoz, as well as the Mansouri oil field development have also been awarded to this holding. Its subsidiaries include:

  • Pars Oil (75.6 percent)
  • Commercial Pars Oil (100 percent)
  • Northern Drilling (10 percent)
  • Persia Oil and Gas (100 percent) – Its first contract, worth about $600M, was to develop the Yaran oil field.
  • Chemical Managers (100 percent)
  • Bahman Geno Company (formerly Hormoz Oil Refinery) (80 percent)
  • Parsian Tadbir Refinery (80 percent)
  • Qaed Basir Petrochemicals (80 percent)
  • Abadan Electrical Production Company (75 percent)
  • Tadbir Drilling (100 percent)
  • Rey Power (Rey Niru Engineering Company) (100 percent)

Mobin Iran Electronics Expansion Holding Company

  • Telecommunications (19 percent)
  • Etemad Mobin Development Company
  • Talia (mobile phone operator), a portion of which was purchased by Mobin Iran in 2012.
  • Mobin Society Communications
  • Mobin 1
  • Mobile Communications Company – This company provides mobile services; a portion of it belongs to the IRGC Cooperative.

Tadbir Industry and Mining Development Holding Company

Barkat Pharmaceuticals Holding Company: This parent company owns 60.6 percent of the Alborz Investment Group, the second-largest pharmaceutical holding company in the country. Companies in this conglomerate include:

  • Alborz Pharmaceuticals Company
  • Sobhan Pharmaceuticals Company (manufactures pills)
  • Iran Pharmaceuticals Company
  • Tolid Pharmaceuticals Company
  • Sobhan Oncology Company – Manufactures Paclitaxel, licensed by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Stragen.
  • KBC (importer)
  • Alborz Distributors
  • Alborz Ascend Investment Company
  • Alborz Balak Company
  • Farabi Pharmaceutical Manufacturer (17 percent)
  • Razak Pharmaceutical Manufacturer (12 percent)
  • Ati Farmed Company (51 percent)
  • BioSun Company (20 percent)
  • Alborz-Zagros Company

Tadbir Strategic Studies and Management Consultant Group

Tadbir Construction Development Company: This holding company, also sanctioned under Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations by the U.S. Treasury Department, manages construction for residential, commercial and tourist projects.43 It has four large construction companies under its umbrella.

Setad Asset and Property Organization

This organization has confiscated real estate properties, land, assets, residential homes, heritage and historic properties, and many others, especially over the past decade.

The Financial Market

  • Mellat Insurance (15 percent)
  • Kar-Afarin Bank (11 percent)
  • Parsian Bank (16 percent) – This bank’s main shareholder is Iran-Khodro auto manufacturer. Setad also owns shares in Iran- Khodro
  • Tadbir Investments – This holding company is active in the stock market, the financial market and securities. It owns six other companies.

Others

  • Iran Khodro (5 percent)
  • Rey Investment Company
  • Mobin Iran Company
  • Modaber Investment Company
  • Barkat Foundation – Barkat calls itself a charity organization, and operates as such on the surface. However, this is a front company hiding astronomical profits for Setad.

2. BONYAD-E MOSTAZAFAN

The Islamic Revolution Mostazafan (op- pressed) Foundation operates under the direct supervision of Khamenei, who hand- picks its president. In 1997, Mohsen Rafiq- doost, the foundation’s former president, said the Mostazafan Foundation owned 400 commercial companies, and produced 28 percent of textiles, 22 percent of cement, about 45 percent of non-alcoholic beverag- es, 28 percent of tires, and 25 percent of sugar produced in Iran.

The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development announced on November 1, 2016, that it had awarded another massive development project to the Mostazafan Foundation. Mahmoud Navidi, managing director of “Khomeini Airport Estates Company” announced that the Ministry will sign a contract with the Mostazafan Foundation for construction and operation of the “Salam Terminal in Khomeini Airport” in Tehran. The state-run ILNA news agency, quoting Navidi, wrote: “This project was awarded to the Mostazafan Foundation without competitive bidding. According to [Navidi], the contract was awarded upon the recommendation and approval of Rouhani’s cabinet.”

The Foundation’s investment in this project was announced at $4B USD. Construction of part of the Salam Terminal had previously been awarded to the National Construction Company, a subsidiary of the Mostazafan Foundation.

Heads of Khamenei-controlled Mostazafan Foundation in the past 41 years. From left: Ali-Naghi Khamoushi, Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mohsen Rafighdoost, Mohammad Foruzandeh, Mohammad Saeedi-Kia, Parviz Fattah
Heads of Khamenei-controlled Mostazafan Foundation in the past 41 years. From left: Ali-Naghi Khamoushi, Mohammad-Ali Rajaei, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mohsen Rafighdoost, Mohammad Foruzandeh, Mohammad Saeedi-Kia, Parviz Fattah

Some of the other main subsidiaries of this foundation are listed below.

Holding Companies:

Alavi Foundation

The Peyvand Ferdous Pars Agriculture and Gardening, which includes: Sirjan Bonyad Agriculture, Mashhad Gardening and Farming, Pars Milk And Meat Investment, Fajre Esfahan, Fajre Sari Gardening and Agriculture, Dasht-e Naz-e Sari Farming, Sina Seed and Plant, Ebrahim Abad Agriculture, Ferdous Tehran Agriculture and Gardening, Peyvand-e Khavaran Agro Industry, Nemat Agro Industry, Golcheshmeh Agro Industry, Ran-e Behshahr Agriculture and Farm Animals, and Mahya Agro Industry.

Kaveh Pars Mining Industry Development

Pars Milk and Beef Investments, which includes: Magsal Agro and Farm Animals, Teliseh Nemooneh Farm Animals, Milk and Farm Animals, Yassouj Agro, Mahdashe Sari Milk and Beef, Azarnegin Agro Industry, Binaloud Neyshabour Agro Industry, Dasht-e Novin Malayer Agro Industry, Negin Fam Khouzestan Agro Industry, Arak Cultivation, Kangavar Beef and Milk, Zagros Shahr-e Kord Milk and Beef, Khorramdareh Agro Industry.

  • Alavi Urbanizing and Engineering Services
  • Sina Paya Sanat Development (General Industry)
  • Sina Energy Development
  • Saba Power and Energy Industries
  • Paya Saman Pars Investment
  • Iran Housing Development
  • Sina Investment Management
  • Parsian Tourism and Recreation Centers
  • Sina Communications and Technologies

Sina Food Industries Development, which includes: Domestic Chickens, Oroumieh Toyour Complex, Mehrshar Food Industry, Pakdis, Behnoush Iran, Ab-Ali Beverages, Shahd-e Kouhrang, Glucosan, Gousht-Iran, Pak Dairy Products.

  • Poushan Pars Investments
  • Pars Cellulose and Wood Investments
  • Kaveh Pars Mining Industry
  • Alavi Engineering and Urban Development
  • Panid Pars Sugar Investment
  • Rahnegar Pars Investment Management
  • Atieh Sazan Plan Management
  • Zamzam Company

Cultural Institutions:

  • Bonyad Museums Cultural Institution
  • Novin Daneshmand Research & Development Institute
  • Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies
  • Taban light cinema

Other Companies:

  • Shahid Motahhary Agriculture & Industry
  • Tehran Shomal Freeway
  • Tehran Cement
  • Behran Oil
  • Bayanat Hadi Audit and Inspection

Financial Institutions:

  • Sina Bank (270 branches)
  • Ayandeh (Future) Credit and Financial Institution
  • Sina Financial and Investments Company

3. ASTAN-E QODS-E RAZAVI

The Astan-e Qods-e Razavi Foundation has been called an unbridled giant when it comes to Iran’s political economy. It is the largest employer in the northeastern province of Khorasan. It has control over (more than 50 percent ownership) in at least 58 large companies. It also owns significant shares in 31 other companies. These include financial institutions and brokers, hospitals, media outlets, publishing houses, animal husbandry, Internet service companies, and car manufacturers, among many others.

According to websites affiliated with the economic organization of this institution, the Razavi economic organization is recognized as the biggest economic holding in eastern Iran with high diversity in different businesses. It controls the production of 10 percent of sugar, 11 percent of decorative stones, 3.7 percent of city and inter-city coach buses, and one-sixth of bread production in the country.

The cartel of companies tied to Astan-e Qods-e Razavi controls the annual production of 47,000 tons of non-homogenized milk, 2,000 tons of red meat, 1,000 tons of white meat, 100,000 tons of agricultural products, 10,000 square meters of fabric, 6,000 square meters of hand-weaved carpets, while also executing over 136 construction, development, road, and urban development projects.

Large swathes of farmland in northeastern Iran, estimated to be at least 990,000 acres with an estimated value of over $20B, are owned by this foundation. Additionally, 43.5 percent of Mashhad city’s urban land is under the foundation’s ownership. It also has endowments in 14 provinces, real estate offices in 20 provinces, and 300,000 rentals.
In the context of the regime’s export of fundamentalism, the foundation conducts activities in Syria, including bridge construction. In 2016, the foundation and the IRGC conducted negotiations for the foundation to allocate at least 20 percent of its annual income to cover the IRGC’s expenses.

Astan Quds Razavi, an economic powerhouse of the Iranian regime

Below is a list of some of the conglomerate’s firms and holding companies.

Holding Companies:

Construction

  • Qods Razavi Concrete and Machinery Construction Company
  • Qods Razavi Residential and Construction Company
  • Astan-e Qods Razavi Engineering and Urban Development Consultants
  • Qods Razavi Water and Soil Engineering Company
  • Qods Razavi Light Structure Manufacturers

Auto Manufacturing

  • Shahab Automobile Company
  • Shahab Transportation Company
  • Combine Manufacturing

Food Products

  • Qods Razavi Flour Company
  • Razavi Leaven Company
  • Razavi Food Products Company
  • Razavi Dairy Products Company
  • Qods Razavi Bread Company

Sugar Industry

  • Abkouh Sugar Company
  • Torbat Heydarieh Sugar Company
  • Chenaran Sugar Company

Agricultural

  • Razavi Agriculture
  • Chenaran Agriculture and Endowments
  • Esfarayen Agro Industry
  • Anabed Agro Industry
  • Sarakhs Agro Industry
  • Astan Qods Razavi Land Institution
  • Nemouneh Farm Agro Industry Institution
  • South Khorasan Endowment and Agriculture Institution
  • Semnan Endowment and Agriculture Institution

Textile Industry

  • Astan-e Qods Razavi Carpet Production Company
  • Khosravi Weaving and Textile Company

Razavi Information and Communication Technologies Holding Company

Pharmaceuticals

  • Thamen Pharmaceuticals

Financial

  • Razavi Credit Union
  • Razavi Brokerage

Others

  • Razavi Oil and Gas
  • Astan-e Qods Razavi Wood Industries
  • Qods Razavi Mining Company
  • Sarakhs Special Economic Region
  • Qods Razavi Livestock (over 130,000 cows)
  • Razavi Islamic Sciences University
  • Imam Reza University

Ebrahim Raisi, the then caretaker of AQR, offers Qassem Soleimani, commander of terrorist Quds Force, the highest honorary title of AQR, July 21, 2018, Mashhad, Iran

4. BONYAD-E SHAHID (MARTYR)

The Shahid (Martyr) Foundation was created in 1979 on the orders of former Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini. Its reach grew after the start of the eight- year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, as it provided services to the victims’ families. Much like other similar institutions, the foundation took huge leaps in the 1990s to accumulate wealth quickly. Under Khamenei’s direct control, the foundation took ownership of many financial, commercial and manufacturing enterprises. Despite owning a vast range of assets and generating significant revenues, it is also allocated a portion of the government budget. The chairman of the foundation is a representative of the Supreme Leader.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated the Martyrs Foundation on July 24, 2007 under Executive Order 13224. Designations under E.O. 13224 freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibit transactions by U.S. persons with the designees. In its statement, Treasury said, “The Martyrs Foundation is an Iranian parastatal organization that channels financial support from Iran to several terrorist organizations in the Levant, including Hizballah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). To this end, the Martyrs Foundation established branches in Lebanon staffed by leaders and members of these same terrorist groups. Martyrs Foundation branches in Lebanon have also provided financial support to the families of killed or imprisoned Hizballah and PIJ members, including suicide bombers in the Palestinian territories.”

Some of the companies and institutions controlled by the Shahid Foundation are listed below.

Kowsar Economic Organization, which itself owns over 30 companies, including:

  • Sobhan Investments
  • Tehran Electric
  • Namad Kowsar Food Industry Investments
  • Kowsar Agricultural Investments, which owns 24 companies
  • Kowsar Mining and Industrial Development Investments (whose portfolio of mines has grown to 10,000 kilometers since 2015)
  • Kowsar Power and Electronics Investment
  • Kowsar Agricultural Mechanization and Industrial Development
  • Moin Kowsar Construction and Builders Investment
  • Kowsar Credit Union. According to the financial institution itself, in 2015 its assets were worth over $4.1B.
  • Zakhireh Shahed Investments owns 10 companies whose activities range from construction, energy production, and commerce to airport services. The company started back in 1984 with a few thousand dollars given by Khomeini.
  • Agricultural Industry Development Services (in Zanjan)
  • Khorasan Cotton and Cooking Oil
  • Shahed University
  • Imam Khomeini Technical Center
  • Shahed Charity Fund

Dey Bank (47 branches): According to the Dey Bank’s financial disclosure information for the fiscal year 2014, the bank owns over $3.5B worth of assets; additionally, it owns at least 13 other companies, including:

  • Didar Development Company
  • Dey Electronic Commerce Company
  • Dey Atieh Sazan Company
  • Dey Brokerage
  • Dey Insurance
  • Dey Leasing
  • Bou-Ali Investment Company
  • Gostar Fardad Commerce
  • Dey Currency Exchange
  • Dey Bank Investments
  • Royay-e Rouz Kish Company
  • Abadi Residential Builders
  • Iranian Dey Financial Services

One of Bank Day’s branches in Iran

5. EMDAD (RELIEF) COMMITTEE

The Imam Khomeini Relief Committee (IKRC) was established on March 5, 1979. Its declared goal is to support the “destitute and oppressed” and to enable them to be self-reliant. Although the committee receives a remarkable share of the annual government budget, it also runs separate commerce and financial enterprises, obtaining significant profits.

Despite its declared aim of helping the destitute, numerous reports, including those published in the regime’s own media outlets, confirm that the Emdad Committee is part of the regime’s apparatus of exporting terrorism and fundamentalism. Its website declares it has offices in Iraq, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Syria, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and the African country of Comoros. According to state-run media, “Based on official figures, the Emdad Committee has official representation in 6 countries. Per its former chairman, the committee has formed popular cells in 30 countries around the world. As of 2014, the committee helps a total of 34,219 people in Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraq and Comoros. Afghanistan has the most beneficiaries with 13,200 people in need of help. Iraq is second, with 12,700 people.”

Some of these so-called beneficiaries are the same people who, after undergoing a series of training sessions, are sent to Syria by the Quds Force to fight for the Assad dictatorship. Many other reports describe the Emdad Committee’s activities associated with exporting fundamentalism in various countries of the region. On July 8, 2016, Tajikistan’s Ministry of Justice asked a court in the country to ban the activities of the Emdad Committee.

A 2016 report obtained from inside the Iranian regime indicates that the Emdad Committee pays monthly stipends to over 5,000 households of the Syrian dictatorship’s forces killed in recent years.

On August 3, 2010, the U.S. Treasury Department designated The Imam Khomeini Relief Committee Lebanon Branch pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Treasury stated, “Iran has provided millions of dollars to the Hezbollah-run branch in Lebanon since 2007. The IKRC has helped fund and operates Hezbollah youth training camps, which have been used to recruit future Hezbollah members and operatives. Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has acknowledged the IKRC branch in Lebanon as one of Hezbollah’s openly-functioning institutions linked to and funded by Iran.”

Hassan Nasrallah: 'as long as Iran has money, Hezbollah has money'

On December 20, 2015, Iranian media reported that Parviz Fattah, the head of Emdad, had paid a visit to the Beqaa (Bekaa) Valley in south Lebanon, which is the stronghold of Hezbollah, to meet with persons who had received the committee’s aide.

Some of the holding companies and institutions controlled by the Emdad Committee are:

Construction and Building

  • Gostar Basir Construction Company
  • Tehran Gostar Basir Construction Company
  • Emdad Construction Expansion Development
  • Nassim Construction Expansion Development

Agriculture and Food Industry

  • Bahar Rafsanjan Agro Industrial
  • Sabzdasht Fars Agricultural Company
  • Fath and Nasr Kerman Agro Industrial
  • Esfahan Agriculture and Livestock Company
  • Zarrin Khusheh Arak Agro Industrial
  • Rezvan Emdad Golestan Agro Industrial
  • Bazouy-e Keshavarz Kermanshah Agro Industrial
  • Emdad Sabz Hegmataneh Agro Industrial
  • Misaq Emdad Ago Industrial
  • Baharan Behesht Alborz Agro Industrial
  • Nar-e Mehriz Yazd Agro Industrial
  • Emdad Sepahan Goldasht Agro Industrial

Mines and Mining Industry

  • Qom Mining Cooperative
  • Emdad Faravar Mines
  • Emdad Mines Development and Equipment
  • Emdad Electricity and Energy Development
  • Mines and Mining Industries Development of Kurdistan

Commerce

  • Emdad Industry Builders
  • Paydar Emdad Commerce and Investment Development

Financial

  • 1,200 charity boxes

Real Estate: The lands confiscated by the Emdad Committee in various provinces include:

  • 1,349 hectares of land and farms in Fars province
  • 38 hectares in Khuzestan province
  • 155 hectares in Gilan province
  • 158 hectares in Golestan province
  • 275 hectares in Mazandaran province
  • 39 hectares Hormozgan province
  • 2,145 hectares in Kerman province
  • 105 hectares in Yazd province
  • 139 hectares in Markazi province

The committee also owns significant land and farms in other provinces, including Tehran, Esfahan, Hamedan, Semnan Alborz, Khorasan, Qazvin, Ilam, Kermanshah, Azarbaijan, Lorestan, Charmahal Bakhtiari, and Ardebil. However, there are no official reports in this regard.

6. IRGC COOPERATIVE FOUNDATION

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Cooperative Foundation (Bonyad Taavon Sepah) is regarded as the most powerful financial institution in the country. Article 4 of the charter of this so-called “foundation” states, “The initial investment in the foundation at the time of its founding was ten million Rials (roughly $315), contributed by the Supreme Leader.” Article 23 says, “All of the funds and assets of the foundation belong to His Excellency the Supreme Leader. In case of its dissolution, after settling all debts, all of the properties and assets will be handed over to His Excellency.”

The U. S. Treasury Department announced in December 2010 that pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 – an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction – Bonyad Taavon Sepah had been designated for providing services to the IRGC.

How the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps IRGC plunders Iran’s economy

The foundation is one of the five largest economic powerhouses in the country. Some of the commercial companies and groups of this foundation are:

A. Bahman Automobile Manufacturing Group:

A considerable portion of this automotive group belongs to the IRGC Cooperative. The Ghadir Investment Company also owns a significant portion. The automobile manufacturing group itself owns the following companies:

Saipa Company: Saipa is the second-largest automaker in Iran. Despite only holding 17 percent of shares in the company, in effect the IRGC is the main decision-maker and beneficiary of its profits. Saipa owns other companies, including:

  • Pars Khodro (auto maker)
  • Saipa Diesel
  • Iran Kaveh (diesel)
  • Saipa Azin
  • Saipa Glass
  • Iran Radiator
  • Saipa Press
  • Saipa Pistons
  • Pouya Industries
  • Niroosaz Arak
  • Rayan Saipa Leasing
  • Mellat Insurance
  • Sayan Insurance Services
  • Rayan Saipa Insurance Services
  • Saipa Employee Investments
  • Rana Investments
  • Saipa Investments
  • Rasa Capital development
  • Saipa Transportation
  • Saipa Parts Engineering Consulting
  • Industrial Export Development Company
  • Saipa Tour
  • Pasargad Construction
  • Saipa Sports and Culture Company

National Iranian Investment Company

Bahman Investment Company

Bahman Leasing Company

Bahman Diesel (montage of Japanese Isuzu trucks)

Iran Credit (79 percent share)

Bahman Brokerage

Etemad Development Investments

B. Financial and Credit Institutions

Thamen Institution

Thamen al-a’meh Financial and Credit Institution: Also known as a credit cooperative, it has 500 branches. By early 2010, the company had lent over $13B to applicants.

C. Investment Companies

Behshahr Industrial Investments (16 percent)

Iranian Negin Khatam Investments (owns shares in Ansar Bank)

Saman Majd Investments (belongs to Thamen Credit)

Ayak Investments

D. Ansar Bank:

One of Ansar Bank's branches in Iran
One of Ansar Bank’s branches in Iran

Ansar Bank has 600 branches across Iran and is the fourth largest bank in the country. It has formed several other companies, including:

Atlas Iranians Investment Holding Company, which is active in real estate services, and owns the following:

  • Andisheh Shiva Atlas Engineering Consultants
  • Atlas Pars Star
  • Ferdows Iranian Garden
  • Arman-e Tous Star
  • Pars Planning Construction and Development (33 percent ownership)
  • Eighth Tous Banagostaran (30 percent share)
  • Pardis Atlas Pars (50 percent ownership)
  • Atlas Iranian Construction
  • Tous Gostar Investment and Urban Development
  • Baghmisheh Urban Development and Residential Building
  • Pardis Atlas Pars
  • Iran Atlas Kish Commercial and Industry

Ansar Electronics

Houshmand Iranian Electronics

Novin Padideh Ansar

Ansar Bank Employees Company

Pars Danayan Investments

Iranian Atlas Investment

Hafiz Technology

Ansar Currency Exchange

E. Industry

Kerman Petrochemicals (25 percent share)

Kermanshah Petrochemical Industries

Zagros Steel

Shahab Sang Mining Industries

Iran Welding Industries

Iran Chassis Production

Moj Nasr Gostar Telecommunications and Electronics

Efahan Zinc Smelter Company

Saberin Ofogh Development Engineering

Arzesh Afarinan Industries

Baharizad Wool Weaving Behinehsaz

Amadeh Engineering

Iran Atlas Kish Commercial and Industry

Sina Pharmaceutical (over 30 percent ownership belongs to Iranian Investments)

F. Telecommunications

Mobin Iran Electronics Industries: The company’s shareholders include the Mostazafan Foundation, Sina Investments, Kowsar Bahman Investments, Iran Electronic Equipment, and SAIRAN.

Talia Company (mobile phone operators): A portion of its shares was purchased in 2012.

Moj Nasr Gostar Telecommunications and Electronics

Etemad Mobin Consortium: The consortium purchased 51 percent of Iran’s telecommunications company and is itself comprised of three separate companies: Mobin Iran Electronics Industries; Shahriar Mahestan, which belongs to the IRGC Cooperative; and Etemad Development Investments, which belongs to Setad.

Sayyar Communications (provides services for Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, or Hamrahe Aval): A portion of this company’s shares belongs to Setad. The company’s largest shareholders are Iran’s telecommunications company, Shahriar Mahestan, Mobin Mehr Economy, Mobin Electronics Development and the Mobin Comprehensive Communications Development. According to Massoud Mehrdadi, one of the main managers of the IRGC’s commercial and financial affairs, the revenues of this company in 2012 from sales of SIM cards and phone chargers topped $2.5B.

Iran Cell (phone operator): The company’s shareholders are South Africa’s MTN (49 percent share) and the Iran Electronics Industries (51 percent share).

Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the Minister of Information and Communications Technology: Irancell (MTN) is the first and largest digital operator in Iran - June 13, 2020
Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the Minister of Information and Communications Technology: Irancell (MTN) is the first and largest digital operator in Iran – June 13, 2020

Produce and Agriculture:

Shadab Khorasan Industries

Maedeh Food Industries

Shadab Khorasan Agro Industries

Charmahal Bakhtiari Leaven Food

Construction:

Prefabricated Light Structures Engineering Company

Jihad Residential Builders (operates in 20 provinces)

Sepahan Residential Complex Builders

Razmandeh Residential Complex Builders

Commerce and Services:

Pars Air

Oil Contractors (South Pars oil field)

Rahian Komeyl Commerce Services and Consulting

Pars Air Travel

Bahrestan Kish Company

Thamen al-A’meh Services Cultural Institution

Kaboud Kavir Alaleh

Mohit Construction

Baharan Company

Navid Bahman

Kowsaran Institution

Misaq Basirat Institution

Asr-e Bahman Company

Negar Nasr Company

Ansar Employees Cooperative

Pasargad Financial Group:

One of the Pasargad Financial Group conferences
One of the Pasargad Financial Group conferences

The Pasargad Financial Group is comprised of Pasargad Bank and several other companies, which operate in the areas of information technology, communications, electronic payment services, insurance, reinsurance, brokerages, heavy equipment leasing, commercial building leasing, construction, mining and industry, energy and other services.

One of the Pasargad Bank branches in Iran
One of the Pasargad Bank branches in Iran

Pasargad Bank is tied to the IRGC. The Pars Arian Investment Company is its largest shareholder. Among its other large shareholders are: Saipa Investments, Ghadir Investments, and Steel Industries Pension Fund.

In view of strict restrictions on IRGC-affiliated banks preceding the velayat-e faqih’s retreat from the nuclear program, Pasargad Bank executives made serious attempts to deny their affiliation with the IRGC. However, there is considerable evidence that the bank plays a major role in the IRGC’s economic empire.

One of the large shareholders of the group is the Saman Majd Investment Company, which is affiliated with the Thamen al-A’ameh Credit and Financial Institution, and is part of the IRGC Cooperative Foundation. In June 2016, a scandal broke out in state-run papers showing that a banking network exists in all the mullahs’ prisons, which confiscates the cash assets of the detainees. The network is part of Pasargad Bank. On June 14, 2016, Pasargad denied taking advantage of prisoners in a statement. However, it admitted having branches in all prisons, saying: “In line with meeting our social responsibilities, we have been charged with this great responsibility, and despite the significant investments made in all the country’s detention centers, the bank has never tried to gain profits in this area.”

In addition to Pasargad Bank, the group’s other ventures include:

  • Middle East Mining and Mining Industries Holding
  • Pasargad Arian Information and Communications (FNAB)
  • Pasargad Insurance
  • Iranian Reinsurance Company
  • Pasargad Heavy Machinery and Equipment Leasing Company
  • Pasargad Leasing
  • Parsargad Arzesh Afarinan Company
  • Middle East Foundational Company
  • Pasargad Energy Development
  • Pasargad Bank Electronic Payments
  • Pasargad Currency Exchange and Services
  • Pasargad Bank Brokerage Services
  • Eighth Urban Development and Construction Company
  • Pasargad Mass Production
  • Pasargad Human Capital Research and Development Institution
  • Arian Investments (AICO)
  • Arian Engineering and Construction Management
  • Arian Pasargad Construction Management
  • Pars Arian Investments
  • Pasargad Bank Financial and Investment Services
  • Pasargad Bank Investments
  • Arian Construction (Modabberan)
  • Iran Credit Ranking Consulting
  • Arian Saman Construction
  • Pasargad Arian Logistics Services
  • Pasargad Financial Group Pension
  • Pasargad Commerce Development
  • Pasargad Tadbirgaran Company
  • Pasargad Future Commerce Management
  • Pasargad Group International Commerce Development and Expansion
  • Mana Iranian Renewal and Expansion Industries
  • Zarand Iranian Steel Company
  • Middle East Aftab Derakhshan (Shining Sun) Commerce
  • Iranian Sirjan Steel Company
  • Middle East Meyar Industrial Engineering Company
  • Pars Hafez Investments

7. KHATAM AL-ANBIYA CONSTRUCTION HEADQUARTERS

The Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters is part of the IRGC. 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.”

Khatam is the largest contractor for government projects. It has 5,000 subcontractors and about 135,000 employees. The cartel enjoys the complete support of the regime and has easy access to banking and financial resources and sustained contracts with no competitive bidding. It has created an operation whereby it totally dominates industrial and construction projects, as well as a portion of oil and gas deals, rendering the private sector unable to compete.

The Khatam Headquarters contracting services acts as a huge intermediary between the government and small engineering and technical companies, which have a major portion of their revenues seized by Khatam. Ownership of many of these companies occurred unilaterally or through intimidation and at times force. On July 1, 2006, Khatam took ownership of Oriental Kish Oil, which had drilling operations in some oil and gas fields of the Persian Gulf. The transfer of ownership included all projects, operations and equipment and assets, worth over $90M. Khatam resolved a commercial dispute with the Romanian-owned Grup Servicii Petroliere by firing on Romanian workers from both military helicopters and ships before boarding the (offshore) Romanian rig and holding its crew hostage, according to reports.

Saeed Mohammad, Commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters
Saeed Mohammad, IRGC member and Commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters

Khatam’s projects have inflicted catastrophic damage to Iran’s economy and environment. Increased salt levels in the Karun River, the largest river in Iran, in addition to a portion of Iran’s water crisis in recent years, are a result of the unbridled and unnecessary dam construction by Khatam.

Khatam also has extensive operations in the sectors of oil and gas and petrochemicals. For instance, it is responsible for the Phase 15 and 16 development of the South Pars oil and gas field.

State-run news agency IRNA quoted the director of the National Iranian Oil Company as saying that the Khatam Headquarters’ oil contracts had surpassed $25B.

Khatam-affiliated companies include:

  • Tehran Gostar Company
  • Oriental Oil
  • Sepanir Oil and Gas Engineering (member of the board of Ansar Bank)
  • Sepasad Engineering (involved in dam construction and infrastructure development projects)
  • Nour (Light) Institution (involved in confiscation and sale of land)
  • Sama Institution (involved in land and real estate sales)
  • Imensazan Consultant Engineering Institute (tunnel construction and passive defense)
  • Makin Institute (naval and sea structures)
  • Rahab Institute (tunnel construction and drilling)
  • Fater Engineering Institute (tunnel construction)
  • Sahel Construction (railroads)

In October 2007, The United States Treasury Department designated Khatam al-Anbiya under Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which freezes the assets of designated proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters. Other Khatam affiliated companies — Oriental Oil, Sahel Construction, and Sepasad Engineering — were covered by the same designation. In February 2010, Treasury took a further step and designated under the same order IRGC General Rostam Qasemi, the commander of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters (at the time), as well as four subsidiary companies, Fater Engineering Institute, Imensazen Consultant Engineers Institute (ICEI), Makin Institute, and Rahab Institute.

8. BASSIJ COOPERATIVE FOUNDATION

The Bassij Cooperative Foundation belongs to the paramilitary Bassij Force, considered one of the five forces of the IRGC. The foundation has a large number of holdings and financial institutions, including:

Iranian Mehr Economic Investments

This company has an extensive presence in the Tehran Stock Exchange. Much like other economic powerhouses affiliated with the Supreme Leader’s office, the company’s star rose overnight. Former director of the company Abbas Rezai said in 2009: “We took over the Iranian Mehr Economic Investment Company 32 months ago with $6.3M to $9.4M. I am now leaving a company that has $4.4B worth of investments.”

The affiliates of this company include:

Zinc Mining Development Holding Company

  • Kalsimin Company
  • Bandar Abbas Zinc Production
  • Acid Producers of Zanjan and Alvand Zinc Workers
  • Iran National Lead and Zinc Company
  • Bafeq Zinc Smelting

Iran Mining Resource Extraction

Iran Zinc Production

Parsian Chemical Catalyst

Zangan Zinc Industrial

Angouran Miners

Zinc Development and Commerce

Mehvaran Andisheh Investment

Non-Ferrous Metals Engineering and Research

Pouya Alpha Machinery

Shahroud Northeastern Mining and Industry

Jam Omid Alborz

Iranian Tajali Mehr Company:

A construction holding company, it is comprised of the following companies:

  • Sharq Farasoo Company
  • Ansar Construction
  • Kousha Paydar Engineering Consulting
  • Kowsar Azarbaijan Company
  • Eftekhar Khuzestan Company
  • Techno-Kar Company (produces fuel distribution pumps and fuel tanks)

Iran Tractor Manufacturing (Tabriz):

Comprised of the following companies:

  • Engine Manufacturers
  • Azarbaijan Diesel Car Manufacturers
  • Kurdistan Tractor Manufacturing
  • Oroumieh Tractor Manufacturing
  • Ougiran Tractor Manufacturing
  • Iran Casting and Tractor Manufacturing Company
  • Tractor Industrial Services
  • Tractor Industrial Machinery
  • Tractor Casting
  • Tractor Engine Makers
  • Tractor Blacksmithing
  • Tractor Parts and Engineering
  • Tractor Machinery and Equipment Makers
  • Siba Engine
  • Tajiran
  • Motira

Parsian Bank

Iran Aluminum Industries (IRAL Co)

Esfahan Mobarakeh Steel Company: A portion of the industry is owned by the IRGC Cooperative Foundation, while another portion is owned by the Social Welfare Investment Company.

Middle East Tide Water Company: The company operates in Bandar Abbas’s Rajai port, where up to 60 percent of Iran’s imports and exports are conducted.

Iran Mehr-e Eqtesad Bank: The bank was formerly called the Mehr Financial and Credit Institution (charity fund for former Bassij members). According to the bank’s website, it started its operations with a $300 investment “gifted by His Excellency the Supreme Leader.” The gift was increased in several stages up to $125 million.70 The bank represents the largest unofficial banking network, with 700 branches and 8 million depositors around the country.

Industrial Development Investments Company

Azarbaijan Development Investments Company

Mehr Residential and Construction Investment Company

Angouran Mine Development

Tous Gostar Company

Sadid Pipes and Equipment Company

Jaber ibn Hayan Pharmaceuticals

Tabriz Tractor Manufacturing Soccer Club

Iranian Mehr-e Eqtesad Brokerage

Kousha Paydar Company

Kowsar Azarbaijan Company

Mehr Farsighted Commerce Services

Atieh Tadbirgaran Company

9. GHADIR INVESTMENT COMPANY

Ghadir is one of the most important investment companies in Iran. Although tied to the Defense Department, government institutions do not have authority or influence over it; the Supreme Leader controls it. The company controls over 16 percent of cement production in Iran, and 5.2 percent of cement production in the Middle East and North Africa, which translates into 0.4 percent of total cement production in the world.

In the United States, Ghadir Investment Company, has been sanctioned under Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations by the U.S. Treasury Department, which requires U.S. persons to block the property and interests in property of this entity.

Some of the companies operating under Ghadir are:

The Parsian Oil and Gas Development Group, whose subsidiaries include:

  • Tabriz Oil Refinery
  • Shiraz Oil Refinery
  • Pardis Petrochemicals (the largest urea fertilizer producer in the Middle East)
  • Zagros Petrochemicals (the world’s largest producer of methanol)
  • Kermanshah Petrochemicals
  • Shiraz Petrochemicals
  • Tabriz Petrochemicals
  • Khorasan Petrochemicals
  • Kian Petrochemicals
  • Pars Petrochemicals
  • Hamoun Sepahan Investments
  • International Petrochemicals Commerce Company
  • Nirou Rail Transport Company

International Construction Development Company, whose subsidiaries includes:

  • ASP
  • Baghmisheh Residential Builders
  • Royay-e Zendegi Kish
  • Ghadir Engineering Consulting
  • Pars Structures Engineering and Construction
  • Tisa Kish Company
  • Fars Shelter
  • Ghadir Khuzestan
  • Azarbaijan Construction
  • Paya Ofogh Structures
  • Narenjestan Gostar Company
  • Behestan Pars Company

Ghadir Capital and Industry Development Company, whose subsidiaries include:

  • Sharq Cement
  • Sepahan Cement
  • Kurdistan Cement
  • Dashtestan Cement
  • Dey Investments
  • Azar Investments
  • Sarouj Boushehr Cement
  • Ghadir Mehr Iranian Engineering Research

Ghadir International Mining and Industrial Development Company:

Through this holding company, Ghadir Investments has purchased iron ore mines; the Zarshouran mine, which is the largest gold mine in Iran located in West Azarbaijan; a titanium mine in Kerman’s Kahnouj; and a zinc mine in Semnan province’s Mehdi Abad. Some of the largest companies in the conglomerate are:

  • Alloy Steel Company
  • Sang Ahan Iron Ore
  • Iranian Iron and Steel
  • South Aluminum Industries Complex
  • Pars Industries International Development
  • Motogen
  • Shahid Qazi Pharmaceuticals
  • Shahid Bahonar Wood

Ghadir Industrial and Commerce Company (financial and commercial holdings), whose subsidiaries include:

  • Ghadir Caspian Steel Company
  • Ghadir Management and Commercial Services
  • Peyman Permanent Commerce
  • Sepehr Pars Deposits
  • Etezad Ghadir Investments
  • Sepehr Iranian Insurance Services
  • Arman Resource Provisions Management
  • Effective Management Company (kar’amad)
  • Zarrin Persia Investments
  • Jebel Ali Masader
  • Saderat Bank Brokerage
  • Rahbar Informatics Services
  • Alvand Ghadir Development Investments

Ghadir Power and Energy Investments, whose subsidiaries include:

  • Gilan Masir Electricity
  • Gilan Power Generation Management (Towlid-e Barq-e Gilan)
  • Ghadir Oxin Energy Development
  • MAPNA Khuzestan Power Generation
  • Ghadir Energy Hamoun Abu Mousa
  • Lamerd Power Generation

Kish Negin International Onshore and Offshore Development (Ghadir’s marine transport holding), whose subsidiaries include:

  • Iran Marine Shipping Services
  • Kish South Iran Dariaban
  • Ghadir Sepehr Transportation

10. ARMED FORCES SOCIAL WELFARE INVESTMENT ORGANIZATION (SATA)

The Armed Forces Social Welfare Investment Organization (SATA) is made up of a wide range of industrial and investment companies, including:

Armed Forces Investments Company, which includes:

  • Maroun Petrochemicals Complex
  • Pars Petrochemicals Complex
  • North Drilling Company (Setad also owns shares in this company)
  • Boushehr Petrochemicals Complex
  • Gilan Combined Cycle Power Generation (Sikl-e Tarkibi)
  • Gilan Production Management (Modiriat-e Bahr-e Bardari)

11. KHATAM AL-OSIA HEADQUARTERS

Khatam al-Osia is tied to the Department of Defense and was founded on the orders of Khamenei in 2010. It is a consortium comprised of five large oil and gas contractors. Khatam al-Osia is in essence a cartel of contractors, formed by a large number of contracting companies who leverage political influence to win government contracts without going through a formal process (i.e. without competitive bids). They then subcontract to engineering companies, winning large sums of profits at the other end.

The complex carries out construction and oil projects. It replaced Shell and Repsol in developments in the South Pars field.

Below are some of the most significant oil and gas contracts awarded to Khatam al-Osia in recent years:

  • Development of South Pars 15 and 16 phases, worth about $2B
  • Development of South Pars common fields, phases 22 to 24, worth about $5B to $6B
  • Development of the third section of the sixth cross-country gas pipeline, worth about $1.3B
  • Development of the first phase of the seventh cross-country gas pipeline (so-called “Peace Pipeline”), worth about $1.3B
  • Development of gas refinery in Ilam, worth roughly $120M
  • Neka-Jask oil pipeline, worth over $3B
  • Construction of three oil pipelines in Khorasan, Kerman, and Hormozgan provinces, worth about $850M
  • Development of Halgan and Baghoun gas fields, worth about $1B
  • Production of Liquid National Gas, worth about $500M
  • Construction of methane, ethylene, and LNG pipelines, worth in total over $1B
  • Tehran-Mashhad railway electrification project
  • Construction of the Ramsar beach ring road

Khatam al-Osia has also taken over the assets of two banks, which include:

  • Arak Pars Wagon
  • Engineering and Urban Development Holding
  • Rail Holding
  • Parsian Engineering Equipment Company

12. STATE SECURITY FORCES (NAJA) COOPERATIVE FOUNDATION

The foundation is tied to the Iranian regime’s State Security Forces (SSF or its Farsi abbreviation NAJA). However, the Interior Ministry has no supervision over it. Its cooperative foundation, which today is one of the largest holding companies in Iran, was established in 1997 but grew to a remarkable scale after 2005. In 2014, state-run media estimated the assets of this foundation to be over $3.2B. The enterprises of this foundation include:

Qavamin Bank, which owns:

  • Amin Naqsh Pardazan Construction
  • Sayan Card
  • Ofogh Qarn Development
  • Yas Cultural, Education, and Sports Institute
  • Mehregan Economic Group

Mehregan Investments (which owns shares in Sang Ahan Iron Ore Mining and Aloumorad)

NAJA Hope Insurance Fund (Bimeh Omid)

NAJA Science, Education and Recreation Institute

NAJA Consumer Goods Institute

Residential Cooperative and Investment Fund

Saving the Arts Institute (Naji-e Honar), a film production company

Rahgosha Institute (traffic police contractor)

Paydar-e Qarn Building and Construction (owns 51 companies, including Nirou Engineering and Construction, Amin Naji Sazan, Tehran Gostar Wire, Takestan Wire and Steel, Sabz Andishan Mass Producers, Paydar Faza Kar Qarn Building and Construction)

Tavan Pouya Capital, a trade and commerce holding (includes Najm and Chit Rey Stores, Naji Pars Co, and Shafaq Tavan Co)

Industry and mining holding company (includes Naji Nashr (Rah-e Farda), Naji Poushesh, Zagros Noush Mehregan, Arsh-e Natanz Cement, Asia Cotton Weaving, and Kish Bio-Implant)

Services holding company

Transportation holding company

Car Imports Co

Pardis Hotels Group, which owns Thamen al-Hojaj hotels, Bakhtar, Sadr, Negin, Zomorrod, Parsa (in Mashhad), Boustan, Baghcheh, Bagh-e Pardis (in Tehran), Molla Sadra (Shiraz), Narges Ziba Kenar (in Rasht), Khezerabad Complex in Sari, and Abadan Karvansara Hotel

Mega Mall, Hyper Me, and Yas supermarkets

Naji Research and Development Company (includes Laleh Computers)

Ofoq Persian Gulf Energy Development

Mosque Development Office

Naji Qadr Company (includes Marine Structures Engineering and Development Company)

Naji Travel (includes the Tuka Tour and Gharb Asia Tours travel agencies)

Pars Hotel Investments Company

Atr-e Gol-e Yas Producers and Distributers Cooperative (has 10 companies, including Yas Law Office)

13. ARMY COOPERATIVE FOUNDATION (BTAJA)

The foundation’s economic enterprises include:

Armed Forces Credit Union

Cooperative and Investment Fund of the Army

Residential Builders of the Army Cooperative Foundation

Insurance Fund of the Army Cooperative Foundation

Saba Insurance Foundation

Investments and Development Fund

Qaem Construction Headquarter

Espadana Industry Group of Factories (Esfahan)

UPVC Aluminum Doors and Windows

Double-Pane Window Manufacturers

Wooden Doors Manufacturers

Aluminum Façade (composite) Manufacturers

Azad Education Institute

14. JOINT CHIEFS OF THE ARMED FORCES COOPERATIVE FOUNDATION (VDJA)

The foundation owns multiple companies. According to its former president, “The resources of the VDJA Cooperative have increased from $31.5M in 2009 to $2.2B in 2013. Its budget has also increased from $20.5M in 2009 to $470M in 2013.”

Conclusion

The vast and interconnected network of wealth and power in the hands of the Supreme leader is indicative of a sophisticated monopoly over the Iranian economy. Doing business with Iran is to do business with Khamenei and the IRGC. At the same time, the significant revenues from this monopoly enable and primarily fund the regime’s terrorism, intransigence and regional adventurism.

Meanwhile, the above facts and figures show that the regime is strategically unstable as a result of these developments to keep pace with the demands of a growing population and a young demographic. According to The Economist, “The Islamic Republic’s labor force is expected to grow by 2.5% annually in the five years to 2020, equivalent to about 3 million new job seekers. The problem is thorniest for young people and women, for whom unemployment stands at 25.2% and 19.7% respectively.” These figures are, in part, obtained from official and ultraconservative estimates.

The real picture is much “thornier.” Tehran has not been able to create the required number of net new jobs despite the lifting of most sanctions in 2015.

At the same time, the options for expansionary policies are limited, which means Tehran faces major constraints to revive the economy after a recession; Dramatically falling oil prices have slashed budgetary commitments and the ability to pay for infrastructure needs. Future security uncertainties for the regime have multiplied as a result of a lower currency reserve.

The inflation rate has been spiraling out of control despite some minor efforts to arrest the worsening trend. Both the unemployment rate and the inflation rate are enduring and persistent, resulting in profound structural damages.

This disastrous economic situation is the most enduring long-term source for social discontent, hence a major source of instability for the regime at home. Unemployed youth and women, recent university grads, workers, civic employees, and many others are looking for minimum sources of subsistence. That has created a vulnerable situation for the regime as protests are on the rise and they could lead to a massive upheaval, similar cases of which were seen during the Arab Spring uprisings in the broader region, two major uprisings in 2018 and 2019 are testaments to this fact.

Now, Western companies engaged or willing to engage in economic and financial deals with Iran portray their activities as transactions with the “private sector.” This is a baseless, hollow claim. As shown by the data provided, behind the official banks and companies lies a web of institutions controlled by the theocracy, and specifically the IRGC.

For example, in September 2015, the French hotel company Accor signed a contract with the Iranian company Aria Ziggurat to manage the two 4-and-5-star hotel chains of Ibis and Novotel. Aria Ziggurat is owned 100 percent by a tourism investment firm called SEMGA (Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Investment Group Co.). It is one of the investment entities owned by the IRGC. This extreme monopoly has also created tailwinds upon which the regime’s foreign adventurism has intensified, but within the regime’s own ranks it has created a sense of chaos.

From an economic viewpoint, it has accelerated the waste and squanders of Iran’s economic resources, leading to a greater recession, more unemployment, and extensive poverty among the population. These excesses have occurred by depriving the society of the ownership of its wealth by means of force. As noted in reference to articles of the regime’s constitution, any form of coexistence, peace or engagement between Iran’s rulers and Iranian society at large has eroded, leaving only room for permanent tension between the two sides. Moreover, the monopolization itself translates into circumstances that create enormous hurdles to true economic growth and development in Iran. In other words, the Velayat-e Faqih (Supreme Leader) has amassed its wealth by robbing the Iranian people of theirs, while violating their rights. In the process, and thus, the regime has eradicated the social backing and support instrumental and necessary for a government’s stability and legitimacy. That has made Tehran more vulnerable than ever before. As social demands grow in breadth and depth, the regime’s ability to respond to those demands appears increasingly limited. That is a recipe for a major social transformation, one that certainly excludes a possible future role for Tehran’s theocratic rulers.

As mentioned, the IRGC has been plundering the Iranian people’s wealth to fund terrorism. The recent trial of Iran’s incarcerated diplomat-terrorist Assadollah Assadi and his three accomplices in Belgium is an example of how the regime uses the Iranian people’s money to pursue terrorism across the globe.

Also, while the Iranian people are grappling with poverty, Reuters reported that the IRGC intends to spend $600 million in Iraq to expand the holy shrine of Imam Hussain, the third Shi’ite Imam.

“Hassan Pelarak, a top officer in the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, had recently been sanctioned by the U.S. for weapons smuggling. He was checking in on a construction project led by a firm he owns together with other Revolutionary Guards, a foundation linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader. This foundation too is under U.S. sanctions,” Reuters wrote.
To end the regime’s terrorism, it is imperative to annihilate its financial resources for funding terrorism.

The facts above once again highlight the need for adopting a firm policy vis-à-vis this terrorist regime.

The international community should maintain and increase sanctions on the regime and recognize the IRGC as a terrorist entity. It is time for the world community to hold the regime to account.

As the Iranian Resistance has repeatedly said, holding the regime to account for its crimes and adopting a firm policy toward it is imperative for global peace and security.

Click here to read the first part of “Inside Iran’s Army of Terror and Oppression: Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).”