Corruption has been institutionalized within the Iranian regime, particularly in its governing bodies. All the regime’s executive managers, members of parliament, military personnel, members of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and clerics are deeply involved in corruption. The IRGC is the main organization that is systematically involved in corruption, plundering, and embezzlements. A considerable sum of the IRGC’s budget is obtained through these ways. In addition to IRGC’s general plundering and embezzlements to gain its needed budget for terrorism and oppression, its personnel and elements also use different methods to fill their own pockets.
A sign of systematic corruption is using family connections, which means the regime’s military or government top officials use their position to finance or provide jobs for their families with high salaries. Relatives of the regime’s top officials could use their family connections to achieve top positions in the government or own huge and profitable businesses and contracts.
So many of the regime’s top officials are using this corrupted family relations and recommend top posts for their relatives to take or leave their hands open to usurp properties and commercial companies. They also use their influence so their relatives could earn maximum interests. Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Major general Ali Shamkhani in one of these officials.
Ali Shamkhani is the secretary of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, one of the regime’s top authorities, who started his work as an IRGC commander during the Iran-Iraq war, rising in the ranks of the IRGC. He is now a super-corrupt official. He and his ilk are among many symbols of the regime’s “systematic corruption.” Shamkhani is also a member of the regime’s State Expediency Discernment Council.
Shamkhani has an important role in the regime’s important security and military decisions and has used his influence in the IRGC to create a separate and independent corruption constituency for his relatives to profit.
Due to the parallel increasing infighting of the regime’s factions and their relatives’ corruption, and the people’s general knowledge about these issues, particularly officials’ astronomical salaries, Shamkhani was also mentioned in the state-run media amid various news of corruption.
Although the regime’s security institutions, particularly the IRGC’s Intelligence Organization, did not allow these individuals’ lifestyle to be known to the public, some of the regime’s elements tried to grapple with these mafias, such as Shamkhani’s family. These officials made some revelations, which were only parts of two rival factions’ fighting over more share of power. They try to eliminate one another to have more share of Iran’s rich resources and national wealth.
Yet, the revelation of Shamkhani’s gang and their corruption by the rival faction gives us this opportunity to understand more about the regime’s institutionalized and systematic corruption.
How the revelations sparked?
On September 19 and 20, 2018, Seyyed Mehdi Sadr al-Sadati, in two Instagram posts, made allegations about Ali Shamkhani’s family that caused a wave in the Iranian media and cyberspace. A closer look at the regime’s media coverage, as well as the pro-government and anti-government networks, reveals more knowledge of Shamkhani’s gang.
But before addressing the Shamkhani gang, this question must be answered:
Who is Mehdi Sadr al-Sadati?
Seyyed Mehdi Sadr al-Sadati is the son-in-law of Mullah Seyyed Mohammad Reza Modarresi Yazdi, one of the mullahs of the regime’s Guardian Council. He is a seminary student living in the city of Qom who, in recent years, has been exposing the economic corruption of the regime’s managers, senior officials, their relatives and entourage with a group of so-called “justice-seeking” youth.
His brother, Seyyed Ruhollah Sadr al-Sadati (born 1983), is the youngest member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts
The Sadr al-Sadatis have made a lot of headlines in Iran’s media and on the internet by claiming they are defending justice and making revelations of other officials’ lavish lifestyles. Yet these so-called “Justice seeking” mullahs are both members of a wealthy family and sons of another regime-affiliated corrupt family, attacking other corrupt officials and the rival faction.
The Sadr al-Sadatis’ strong family relationship with some members of the Guardian Council and the Assembly of Experts as well as some renowned Shiite clerics in Qom have made these two mullahs able to attack the rival faction; although after they got closer to the top of the regime’s “pyramid of corruption,” where supreme leader Ali Khamenei is situated, they were stopped by the IRGC intelligence.
Shocking news for Shamkhani and his family
Mehdi Sadr al-Sadati, in his Instagram post published on September 19, 2018, wrote:
“Mr. Shamkhani is the secretary of the National Security Council.
Hossein Shamkhani, the eldest son of Mr. Shamkhani, is the director of Admiral Shipping and, according to his Facebook account, is a graduate of Lebanese American University.
The cost of each semester is up to $10,000 at this university. Hassan Shamkhani, another son, is also one of the company’s managers. Young nephews of Mr. Shamkhani, Mohammad Hadi Shamkhani, is an expert on political affairs in Russia, and Mo’oud Shamkhani is the technical deputy of Arvand Free Zone Organization. But the most important person is Mr. Shamkhani himself. What is his career? What does Mr. Shamkhani himself, the secretary of the National Security Council, do?”
A day later, in another Instagram post published on September 20, 2018, Sadr al–Sadati revealed another interesting information:
“By the way, I missed a very important person among Mr. Shamkhani’s relatives. Azim Shamkhani. Why do I call him important?
Because I did not see news agencies in Khuzestan province protest that why you [regime’s officials] have given a high school graduate [Azim Shamkhani] very important managing positions as high as the deputy mayor of the city of Ahvaz.
Why did you stutter? Are you afraid because he represented Mohsen Rezaei and is Shamkhani’s brother?
Do not be scared. Nothing will happen. Challenge the mayor and the governor and Mr. Shamkhani himself.
Tell me, how can someone who was born in 1988 and has a high school diploma, according to a member of the city council, become the director of Ahvaz’s beautification organization? Then the deputy of municipal services? Then the deputy mayor? Then the head of the Municipalities Cooperation Organization etc.?
Some of these jobs are managing and directing more than a few thousand professionals.
PS: Some photos of Shamkhanis’ vacation in Mauritius Island. I took these photos from Miaad Shamkhani’s page, the brother of Mo’oud Shamkhani, who were together with Shamkhani’s sons.”
It is important, with respect to the information revealed by Sadr-al Sadati, to provide more details about the people of which he spoke.
Abdolazim Shamkhani, Ali Shamkhani’s stepbrother, was born in 1988. At the age of 25 with a high school diploma, he was appointed CEO of the Ahvaz Beautification Organization. Then, due to his family relations, in 2017, he became the managing director of the Khuzestan Municipalities Cooperation Organization. He was in this position until February 2017. He was later fired for large-scale embezzlement and his incapability in management. Of course, he had other positions in his youth which are very noticeable how he achieved such positions by using his family relationship with Shamkhani.
Other positions held by this corrupt person include the following:
- The representative of the Secretary of the Expediency Council in Khuzestan province, when he was 22 years old
– Head of Advertising Department of Khuzestan Islamic Development Coordinating Council, when he was 23 years old
– Special Inspector of the General Inspectorate of Khuzestan Governorate, at the age of 23.
Hossein and Hassan Shamkhani are the two sons of Ali Shamkhani. Both of them are directors of Admiral Shipping Company, which has offices in Dubai, India, and Iran.
Admiral Shipping Company was established in 2011 by several young members of the Shamkhani family. Now it has a capacity of 16000 TEU-maritime in the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, and the ports at the Far East, where the Admiral Shipping Company can provide container transport services. This shows that the Shamkhani family is deeply involved and has an open hand in smuggling and illegal transit.
Mo’oud Shamkhani, the nephew of Ali Shamkhani, born in 1987, was appointed as the technical and civil deputy of Arvand Free Zone Organization in 2015.
Mo’oud Shamkhani has made a lot of money in the many projects he has earned through this job. In January 2019, the Arvand Kabir Coastalization Project was inaugurated, which included the construction of a two-lane asphalt road, the construction of a bridge and a protective fence around the road, and the provision of road lighting, which will continue for about 11 km along the coast of the Arvand River.
Among his other actions is the creation of services and facilities for the Arbaeen march and the dispatch of caravans from Iran to Iraq, which is another part of the financial empire of Shamkhani Gang in southern Iran.
The Arbaeen ceremony, which is held to commemorate the martyrdom of Shiite Islam’s Third Imam, Hossain-ibn Ali, has been a source of income and a channel to smuggle weapons to Iraq, where Imam Hossain is buried, for the mullahs’ regime.
Mohammad Hadi Shamkhani, another nephew of Ali Shamkhani, is a Middle East political expert residing in Russia and works at the regime’s embassy in that country. He is a graduate of the Islamic Azad University and was immediately turned into a political expert.
The Special Court for Clerics announced the arrest of Mehdi Sadr al–Sadati on November 20, 2018, with four private plaintiffs. This news met many reactions and was widely covered by the media. Yet, state-run media announced his release after a very short time. Sadr al–Sadati’s arrest was a sign of Shamkhani’s first reaction, who did not want these two brothers to delve further into his family’s ring of corruption.
Yet, these rivalries entered a new phase.
Mehdi Sadr al–Sadati published fresh accusations against Shamkhani and his family in a post on his Telegram account on August 14, 2019. This post was titled “When will you be satisfied?” a sarcastic remark, referring to the Shamkhani family’s greed, underlining that this greed, shared among all the regime’s officials, will never end.
These revelations were particularly of Zeinab Shamkhani, Ali Shamkhani’s daughter, and her husband Hassan Mir-Mohammadali, who is well known for his corruption in building luxury villas and a known speculator.
Sadr al–Sadati wrote: “The 920-meter property on Khaled Eslambouli Street with two additional floors and more than 4,000 square meters of the useful residential building, as well as the 750-meter property in Pasdaran belonging to Zeinab Shamkhani, daughter of Ali Shamkhani, a 6,000-meter Iran Khodro dealership and Lavasan villa are among the assets of Shamkhani’s daughter and son-in-law. Also, the family tower on Fereshteh Street in a 2600-meter property is named after Shamkhani’s wife, and this family also owns property in Ahvaz, Dezful, and the north.”
According to Sadr al–Sadati, Shamkhani’s family also received extensive construction permits in Tehran, Lavasan, Ahvaz, Shush, and northern Iran. He later revealed that the apartment complex worth one trillion tomans on Fereshteh Street in Tehran belonged to Azarmidokht Tabatabai, Ali Shamkhani’s wife.
These revelations spark this question: Weren’t there any supervisory body to prevent Shamkhani’s family from further plundering the nation’s wealth and misusing their positions? How is it that a regime that tightly controls Iranian citizens, intervenes in their personal lives, and most importantly oppresses them is not able to control its own authorities? Obviously, all the regime’s so-called security and supervisory bodies are deeply involved in corruption. These revelations are not signs of a democratic country where people could freely speak of authorities’ corruption, ending in their arrest or resignation. These are parts of the regime’s infightings over more share of power, national wealth, and Iran’s resources.
Shamkhani in the spotlight of the state media
The state-run Ensaf News website on March 6, 2019, following some revelations made by Milad Goodarzi, a member of Sadr al–Sadati’s “Justice Seeking Youth,” published a report of Villas and luxury houses in Lavasan and busty hills in Tehran.
In a part of this report, it is mentioned that Goodarzi went to Lavasan to investigate the luxury villas of Shamkhani and his partners, and there he met Shamkhani’s son-in-law, Hassan Mir Mohammad Ali. Mir Mohammad Ali tries to present himself as someone else, trying to get away from the issue, but still makes significant points in his speeches. In fact, Hassan Mir Mohammad Ali, Shamkhani’s son-in-law, is one of the most famous villa builders in Lavasan district.
The most important issue, in this case, was that Hassan Mir Mohammad Ali acted to avoid his true identity being exposed, which in fact confirmed violations in building villas by this person and other villa builders in Lavasan.
“In this case, Shamkhani’s son-in-law introduces himself as the contractor of the building and denies his identity, after which he confirms the existence of widespread violations in this area. He further confirms deliberate violations of certain legal limits by those who build villas in the area and avoid them by paying a fine under Article 100. These were part of Mir Mohammad Ali’s remarks about villa builders in the Lavasan district, and they created a lot of speculation in the Media,” read the report.
The clip of Goudarzi, the so-called independent journalist, visiting Lavasan and speaking with Shamkhani’s son-in-law speaks for itself:
The state-run Ensaf News website published a report on October 21, 2019, on the villas in Lavasan district. It read:
“After Milad Goudarzi’s video, a reporter attributed to the justice-seeking movement and his revelations about Hassan Mir Mohammad Ali (Ali Shamkhani’s son-in-law), we went to his villa to take a closer look at the events in Lavasan. Mir Mohammad Ali believed that although he had violated some law in the construction of his villa, those who accused him did not have a clear case either. He says that in Lavasan, construction violations are common and that the municipality receives the relevant fine, which is legal. Therefore, if the violation is not to become a fine, treat everyone in the same manner.”
Mir Mohammad Ali speaking of paying “fines” to the municipality is indeed bribing the municipality, a common method among regime’s officials to justify their actions.
The state-run Entekhab website published a video clip in August 2019, regarding Shamkhani Family’s corruption, showing some aspects of this case.
When the situation was running out of control, the IRGC’s Intelligence intervened and Shamkhani used his connections to settle the situation.
A month after Sadr al–Sadatis‘ last revelation, the news of their disappearance circulated in the media along with two of their companions. They were going to the airport to travel to Bandar Abbas, southwestern Iran, but this trip never happened, and they were missing for three days. There were rumors of their abduction by security forces. Some of the state-run media pointed to “self-hiding.” The situation even compelled the Secretariat of the Assembly of Experts to issue a press release, stating it is following up the Sadr al–Sadaites’ situation.
Finally, on September 7, 2019, Seyed Ruhollah Sadr al–Sadati, a member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, in a post published on his brother’s Telegram Channel explained the following about their circumstances:
“I, Seyyed Ruhollah Sadr al-Sadati, a member of the Assembly of Experts, have repeatedly talked to officials about the tasks set by the Supreme Leader for members of our Assembly, including examining the country’s progress toward major goals of the Islamic Revolution and monitoring roadblocks. I did so and pointed out to the necessary steps to fulfill this goal, but unfortunately, I saw that there were many infiltrators among them. It became clear that the infiltration project, which is explicitly mentioned in the Supreme Leader’s orders, is very serious and pervasive, and the most important examples of this are among the scholars of the seminary and the intelligence and security organizations. I continued my efforts, but I found no resolution to correct things among these infiltrators. They rejected even giving me one answer. Instead, they took advantage of their situation day by day, sometimes by spreading rumors against me and sometimes by threatening and harassing my family and friends, and they wanted to silence me.”
“Through the supreme leader’s institution of representative offices in universities, the organization of the Holy Mosque of Jamkaran, the office of some clerics, etc. all over the country, they spread rumors that this gentleman [Sadr al–Sadati] is anti-revolutionary and opposed to the supreme leader. He is one of the mainstays of false mysticism and so on. In meetings with friends, the Qom IRGC’s intelligence chief repeatedly threatened to arrest and imprison me, attack my home, and harass my family. I have some of these threats recorded,” he continued.
“I complained to the judiciary, the Special Court for the Clergy, the Guardian Council, the Assembly of Experts, and anyone who might have the influence to help me against these atrocities, but these infiltrators were also there, and I was actually complaining to myself. Eventually, I found no refuge other than the Supreme Leader, and I wrote several letters in this regard, but unfortunately, I did not receive any response from his office. I even sent several people to share this information with him, but apparently, they were not successful,” he said.
“It is very disappointing that a member of the Assembly of Experts will not be able to convey anything from his constituents to their leader for a few years. But the recent incident was that I decided to travel to investigate some of the issues that the infiltrators had created in my constituency, and I was threatened that if I do, I would be killed,” read the Telegram post.
“On the way, due to the fact that I did not want to have seizures and conflicts and I did not see this in the interests of the country, I changed my decision and with my companions, we turned off our phones so that we would not be tracked, and went to a place away from the public.”
“When it is possible to lie easily in the most important security tribunes of the Islamic Republic and never be held accountable, does this not indicate infiltration?! Is it not a sign of deviation from our ideals, when the family of a representative of the leadership’s experts can be easily and without fear of the consequences threatened to death? If the Revolutionary Guards, which are very dear to us [regime], and until now, if it they were not present the revolution would not have survived, have this many corrupt persons in its ranks, doesn’t this indicate infiltration?” he added.
What is the importance of Sadr al–Sadati’s remarks?
Sadr-al Sadati’s remarks, as a member of the regime’s Assembly of Experts, are very important and spark several important questions:
- How could the IRGC’s Intelligence chief in the city of Qom threaten a member of the Assembly of Experts, which has a high place in the regime’s hierarchy, to death and detention? What has happened behind the scenes?
- Why did Khamenei’s office refuse to answer and protect Sadr al-Sadati? Is it not because Khamenei himself is at the top of 2. the regime’s hierarchy of institutionalized and systematic corruption?
- What is this project of infiltration of which Sadr al–Sadati speaks? Has it advanced and penetrated even the supreme leader and other important mullahs’ offices? Weren’t the IRGC elements controlling and spreading all the regime’s structure?
The case of the Sadr al–Sadati brothers, which started with exposing corruption by the Shamkhani family and had such consequences for these two brothers, confirms how untouchable the regime’s corrupted officials are. This is why citizen journalists and people are afraid of approaching these murderous thugs ruling Iran. Imagine if instead of these two brothers, who are part of this regime, there were two ordinary citizens challenging the Shamkhanis’ corruption or any other IRGC members. What would be the result?
These infightings and revelations show how the IRGC and the mullahs’ regime have taken Iran and its resources hostage, and when their circle of corruption is exposed, they show no mercy to whoever exposes them.
When it comes to the IRGC’s interests, when revelations of the Sadr al–Sadati brothers of Shamkhani’s corruption approach fields in which the IRGC are involved, they are silenced and threatened to death.
In a nutshell, the IRGC mafia is greedy.
Although the destruction of Shamkhani’s son-in-law’s villa was finally on the agenda and its verdict was made public, the fact that in Lavasan or other luxury places, the children of officials and small and large government officials and IRGC leaders have built several villas with much land and pools and gardens, is still there and there are no statistics.
Most interestingly, the silence of Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, made public opinion more sensitive, and many people realized at the height of the economic and livelihood crisis, how corrupt the regime and the IRGC leaders are. And while poor people are grappling with the coronavirus and poverty, the regime’s officials are continuing their luxury lives by plundering people’s wealth.