The four-decade-long dolling out government posts to relatives, family members, and people close to the ruling elite are one of the most hotly debated issues in Iran’s state-controlled media. One of the most disputed cases was that of Saeed Mohammad, the former head of one of the most corrupt economic powerhouses, the Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters which belongs to the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Ebrahim Raisi appointed him as the advisor to the President on Free Trade-Industrial and Special Economic Zones. In that position, Mohammad is engaged in buying and selling oil, money laundering, and other past corrupt businesses.
And now he has started a new interesting but corrupt job, selling presidential villas in the south of the country, including in the Hormoz island to his friends and IRGC members.
Now, his greedy rivals in the governing body are tracking down the buyers of these villas and estates, to gain a share of the profits. They have publicly complained about this issue, as reported by the state-run daily Mostagel on January 16, 2022.
“If government property is to be sold to the same government trustees, there is certainly something worse than cronyism, because when property, factory, and commodities are in the name of the government, their transfer must be transparent.”
They are referring to their rivals in Raisi’s government that such corruption became so public that the regime’s judiciary became busy with countless cases of corruption, embezzlement, fraud, and money laundering. Of course, the Judiciary will not touch these cases, which were also prevalent during Hassan Rouhani’s tenure. Now it is Raisi’s turn.
Hassan Kan’ani, who introduces himself as a principlist, in a comment published by the regime’s state-run daily Mostaghel online, on January 16, 2022, wrote: “In the faction that is now the government is coordinated with the Judiciary and the Executive Branch, these relations will likely prevail over the rules. Regulators must be careful in this regard, especially in family employment (nepotism) and the transfer of government property to those who have a background in spreading economic corruption.”
Regarding improper appointments such as that of Ali Asgari to the management of a petrochemical holding, he said:
“My surprise is that those who have been responsible for years and have not been able to perform their duties in their responsibilities are taking more sensitive positions. Has the principle of retirement been considered in this regard?”
He expressed his concern and fear about the backlash such a power struggle will create in society because it would cause increasing distrust toward the system by Iran’s impoverished classes.
Ali Asgari has not taken the office yet, but anger and protests over such appointments are on the rise. A member of the presidium of the parliamentary energy commission said that given the importance of the petrochemical industry, a person who heads the largest holding in the industry should have sufficient knowledge and expertise.
“Today, the main question by experts and public opinion is whether an expert manager has been trained in the country to be appointed at the top of the management pyramid of the Persian Gulf Holding? More than 36% of the total ownership of the country’s petrochemical units is held by the Persian Gulf Holding. Any mistake can have irreparable consequences for the country’s economy,” Kan’ani warned.
Equally preposterous was the decision by the mayor of Bojnourd to appoint his mother-in-law as the advisor to the mayor. Outlets like the state-run Fars news agency ridiculed the decision. :
“The news of the appointment of the Bojnourd mayor’s women affairs advisor, who is also the mother of the Bojnourd mayor’s wife, has caused a lot of reactions in cyberspace. The mayor’s reason for this appointment was that his women’s advisor should be one of the mayor’s incest,” it wrote on January 26, 2022, adding, “Although such reasons seem ridiculous, if there is concern about such issues, it is better to create an advisory team.”
Ironically, the mother-in-law of Bojnourd’s mayor lives in another city and must travel to and stay in Bojnourd for several days to fulfill her duty.
In this regard, the state-run daily Shargh on January 17 wrote, “Appointment to critical government posts are happening under the name of political, familial, and even within a closed circuit, and it seems it is not over. The situation is so out of control that it has reached the public tribunes and even the parliament, such that a representative officially says that the governor has asked us to nominate a member of the election campaign to the post of governor.
“Every day, a name, or a surname, even at the lowest levels of management, comes to the fore and this is surprising. If the family appointments involving the bride and groom, and mother-in-law these days are bizarre as was the case with Ali Asgari, what should one say about the brazen presence of graduates of a particular university in important political management positions? Is this not a division of spoils? If not, what is it then?”
The fact is that from day one, this regime’s modus operandi has been based on nepotism. According to Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf the regime’s parliament speaker, the four percent have monopolized everything.