By Jubin Katiraie
A powerful system of political patronage, nepotism, and cronyism pervade all sectors of Iran’s economy. Bribes are often given to obtain services, permits, or public contracts.
Nearly all of Iran’s economy is in control of key state institutions, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the judiciary.
There is an old Persian proverb that is said, a thief who steals stolen property is the king of thieves. Today, the question which is standing in front of us is, when Iran’s government is busy by looting, stealing the people’s wealth and the country’s precious resources and money on a daily basis, which thieves have stolen $22 billion of government currency?
Jamal Razaghi, head of the chamber of commerce in Fars province, told the state-run ILNA news agency on 24 July: “At least $22 billion of the country’s currency has disappeared in the situation of the sanctions under the pretext of allocating government currency. Contrary to what the president said, who believes that currency belongs to the government, I believe that currency belongs to the country and the people.”
Razaghi added: “The government should cut the allocation of the 4200 Tomans currency due to corruption and rent-seeking. Instead, it should increase the wages of the working class and those cover more people by the Relief and Welfare Committee. Government currency has had no consequences other than corruption.”
He further referred to the recent parliamentary resolution on preventing the allocation of government currency and giving coupons to needy families: “There is corruption in the coupon system and the plan to coupon goods and medicines does not benefit the needy. Any action that could lead to corruption must be avoided.”
This official talks about the loss of $22 billion in government currency, which the Rouhani government has been asking for a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund for several months and has not been given it. This amount of money is lost, while Rouhani wrote letters to Khamenei several times to withdraw $1 billion from the Development Fund and made the deteriorating situation of the people due to the coronavirus an excuse for this demand so that he could withdraw $1 billion from this fund.
Of course, it should not be forgotten that Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, also said very clearly in May 2017: “We gave $35 billion to those who circumvent the sanctions, and now it is not clear where that money is?”
These days, Rouhani is trying to secure his vacant treasury, which he says has a 50 percent budget deficit, by taxing vacant homes. But neither Rouhani himself nor the members of his government, nor the Judiciary, who only thinks of executing and giving heavy sentences to civil activists and workers, have nothing to do with pursuing such thefts and lost funds which is for many countries around the world their annual budget.