Iran’s kleptocracy allows incompetents to decide people’s fate
The Iranian regime’s corruption is common knowledge and does not need to be examined in the dark. The ruling theocracy in Iran has all the hallmarks of a corrupt regime, which plunders people of their wealth. But the kleptocracy and nepotism in Iran is incomparable with any other dictatorship.
Iran has had many corrupt leaders. The Shah’s regime was well known for its nepotism, earning it the nickname “The Thousand Families” (Hezar Famil).” Yet the Shah’s agency and corruption pales in comparison to Iran’s current thievocracy Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Iran 150th out of 180 countries. smoke and mirror of the regime to conceal the depth of corruption within its ranks.
In an article from July 31the official daily Arman-e Meli acknowledged another case of nepotism within the government of Ebrahim Raisi.
“Nepotism has been seen as the Achilles’ heel of government. Months after a fiasco over the appointment of Alireza Zakani’s son-in-law as Tehran Municipal Councilor, another official’s son-in-law has held several positions in one of the most sensitive teachers’ societies. He practically became the head of the teachers’ reserve fund,” wrote Arman-e Meli.
According to Arman-e Meli, in May 2022, Hamid-Reza Najafpour, the CEO of the teachers’ reserve fund, appointed Hamid Baghernejad as head of finance and human resources for the fund. Bagherenjad currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Teachers Reserve Fund Board.
Baghernejad is the son-in-law of Raisi’s Minister of Education, Yusef Nouri. Nouri is a high-ranking member of the regime’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and previously served as head of education for Iranian schools in Qatar and Bahrain.
Among his other recent positions with the teachers’ reserve fund, Baghernejad holds eleven different positions, including that of Nouri’s representative in the teachers’ reserve fund.
Just days in office, Baghernejad authorized the sale of 25 acres of land belonging to the Lavan Petrochemical Company, which is owned by the teachers’ reserve fund at the Persian Gulf Holding. According to Arman-e Meli, this land is worth 50 quadrillion rials.
“The 25-hectare land of Lavan Petrochemical Company belongs to the teachers’ reserve fund, one of the most valuable lands in southwestern Iran, with a private dock and beach. This land will be handed over to the government on the orders of Bagheranjad, the representative of the Minister of Education and Culture at the Farhangian Reserve Fund, and Alireza Babazadeh, the CEO of Petrofarhang. Besides the very high price of this company, more than 10 trillion riyals have been spent in recent years to create Lavan,” wrote Arman-e Meli.
Petrofarhang is a subsidiary of Persian Gulf Holding, a massive conglomerate that controls 45% of Iran’s petrochemical industry. IRGC Brigadier General Ali Asgari, former head of Iranian Broadcasting (IRIB), is the CEO of Persian Gulf Holding. This holding is one of dozens of super-holdings controlled by the IRGC.
According to the public newspaper Eghtesadnews on July 31, “With the construction of Lavan Petrochemical on this land, the company’s annual sale of urea and ammonia amounts to more than 500 million dollars, which indicates a profit important for teachers.
It should be noted that while the Ministry of Education has such resources, Iranian teachers struggle to make ends meet. After many years of struggle, in 1996 Iranian teachers forced the regime to establish a reserve fund. Since then, the ruling theocracy in Iran has pressured teachers to devour this reserve fund and deprive educators of their basic rights.
“The main objective of the teachers’ reserve fund is to improve the living conditions of teachers. Teachers who join this reserve fund contribute 5% of their salary to save for their retirement. The government was supposed to contribute the equivalent amount but has since neglected it,” Arman-e Meli wrote in this regard.
“The total government contribution barely reaches ten quadrillion rials. The teachers’ contribution by reducing their salaries by five percent reached ten quadrillion rials, then 60 quadrillion rials.
Based on the current free market exchange rate, teachers have contributed nearly $2 billion to their reserve fund, while the scheme has allocated less than $320,000.
After being appointed to several leadership positions in the teachers’ reserve fund, Baghernejad is openly trying to devour the savings of Iranian teachers. This is how the ruling kleptocracy in Iran plunders people.
Meanwhile, Iranian teachers and pensioners are protesting daily, denouncing the regime’s corruption, mismanagement and incompetence. They also oppose the mullahs’ regime’s refusal to address their demands on a growing list of economic problems, including low wages and pensions, rising inflation, soaring commodity prices and poor living conditions.