Iranian state media outlets are filled with reports of the trial of the Judiciary’s former executive director, Akbar Tabari-Pour. Despite the regime’s efforts to portray that corruption in Iran is limited to one or several individuals, it confirms the regime’s institutionalized corruption.
On Tuesday, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’i, the Judiciary first deputy, desperately tried to whitewash the regime’s judiciary in its entirety and say that they simply were not aware. He said: “Tabari acted cunningly and it was complicated to understand his actions and moves, otherwise we would have taken action. There were some rumors, but nothing was proven.” Eje’i effectively acknowledged the baselessness of his remarks by saying: “I do not expect you to believe it.”
The truth is, Tabari was acting under direct supervision of the regime’s former Judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani. Larijani and all other Judiciary chiefs are directly appointed by the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who stands at the top of the hierarchy of corruption within the mullahs’ regime.
Limiting corruption cases to individuals is Khamenei’s method and order. In his speech on June 7, 2019, Khamenei said: “The cases of corruption are bad, but they are not systematic.”
The state-run Setare-e Sobh daily (Morning Star) in an article on June 8 wrote: “About 10 to 15 years ago, everyone who dealt with the judiciary knew Akbar Tabari, and those who wanted to file a lawsuit in the judiciary went to him. Some people said that instead of Mr. Shahroudi or Amoli Larijani, find Akbar Tabari and go to him.”
Having such a power in the regime’s judiciary is not without Khamenei’s clearance. Because this corrupted institution is directly under his control and it is a most important tool of oppression.
In a nutshell, the so-called “anti-corruption” moves by the regime’s new Judiciary Chief, Ebrahim Raisi, such as Tabari’s trial, are only meant to whitewash and save the head of this “hydra of corruption,” Khamenei.
Tabari’s corruption was well-known to the regime’s officials. Arresting and holding him to account is another desperate move to manipulate the restive Iranian society, which grapples with poverty due to the regime’s institutionalized corruption, and divert attentions to Khamenei as the head of corruption and corrupted institutions such as the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
Khamenei controls huge financial institutions and has a financial empire. Behzad Nabavi, a government minister in several of the regime’s administrations, said in an interview with the state-run Alef news agency on September 21, 2019: “In our country, there are four institutions which control 60 percent of the national wealth. This includes the Executive Headquarters of Imam’s Directive (Setad Ejraie Farman Imam), Khatam-ol–Anbia Base, Astan-e Quds and Foundation of the Oppressed and Disabled. None of these institutions are in connection with the government and parliament.”
Other 40 percent is also in the hands of the IRGC and its Khatam-ol–Anbia Base which is the largest private contractor of Iran. The state-run Sharq daily in an article on December 31, 2016 in this regard wrote: Khatam-ol–Anbia Base is provided special privileges such as tax exemptions that facilitate its economic activity. It also has power and permeability in governmental organizations and economic sections. With such dominance, the legal barriers will be removed, and the projects will be channeled for Khatam-ol–Anbia. In addition to that, unlike other economic actors, this headquarters does not endure any ordeal by monitoring bodies. As the Supreme Audit Court of Iran stipulates, the General Inspection Office and other monitoring bodies (even the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC) do not have the right to enter and inspect the activities of Khatam-ol–Anbia. The only authority that supervises the headquarters is the Intelligence Protection of IRGC which does not basically monitor the economic activities, or it cannot have an audit or financial tracking in the performance of the headquarters. In such a situation, the corruption is expected to grow.”
Who is Akbar Tabari?
While it has become clear that corruption is institutionalized within the regime, with Khamenei and the IRGC at its top, a glance at Tabari’s background and his relations with the regime’s top officials confirms the extent of corruption within the regime.
In this regard, in an exclusive report, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) on May 6 wrote: “The competition between two Mafias, the Larijani clan and Ebrahim Raisi (the current judiciary chief), in the main pyramid of the power, was demonstrated by the arrest of Akbar Tabari-Pour. Akbar Tabari was the Executive Vice President and Director General of Finance of the Judiciary for more than 20 years. “
“He was, until the very last working days in March 2019, the executive deputy of Sadeq Amoli-Larijani, then head of the regime’s judiciary. But in an unusual move, Raisi fired him. For the past 20 years, Akbar Tabari-Pour has held senior positions in the regime’s judiciary. The website of the Executive Vice President of the Judiciary, of which he was director-general until March 2019, shows that he has supervised many recreational, economic and construction projects. The Shah-e Cheraq residential and recreational complex in the city of Shiraz, the Judiciary’s dental subspecialty center, Shiraz, Mashhad, and Sarein water complex and swimming pools and the grand cultural and recreational Milad complex in Mashhad are among the projects Tabari oversaw and initiated. He was also a member of Iran’s Kung Fu and Martial Arts Federation’s board of directors,” read the report.
“Reports indicate that back in the 1990s and early 2000s, he was active in automobile manufacturing and the Iran Khodro company. In the last years of Amoli-Larijani‘s tenure as head of the regime’s Judiciary, there were numerous financial charges against him on a large scale in the country,” the NCRI added.
The Iranian society is grappling with poverty and now the coronavirus outbreak. These crises as well as 41 years of oppression have turned this society into a powder keg. People are aware of the regime’s institutionalized corruption and see it as the root to all of their problems. This was fairly demonstrated during the nationwide Iran protest in November which happened after the gas price-hike. To quell the restive society and divert the public’s attention from real sources of corruption, Khamenei and the IRGC, the regime has staged Tabari’s show trial.
Yet, this will only result in more infighting and confirm the depth of corruption within the regime and add to the Iranian people’s determination to overthrow the mullahs’ regime to overcome all economic hardships.