Invisible hands forced Iran’s “anti-corruption” figure to retract his critical remarks against several high-ranking individuals and entities.
This issue revealed new scopes of systematic corruption in Iran and influential officials’ involvement in corrupt cases.
On August 9, the head of Mostazafan [underprivileged] Foundation Parviz Fattah appeared on the state-run TV Channel One and said what he had not to say. In response to the interviewer’s questions, Fattah exposed that former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still benefit from the presidential privileges.
“Mr. Khatami recently and after our pursuits evacuated a building that he previously borrowed for Baran institution. Also, Dr. Ahmadinejad is supposed to transfer from one of our properties whose worth is more than 2 trillion rials [$8 million]. Unfortunately, we do not have a similar property to offer Mr. Ahmadinejad instead,” Fattah said.
However, the most controversial part of Fattah’s comments was about the seizure of Mostazafan’s properties by individuals and entities close to the supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Several observers, who see him as the principlists’ potential candidate for the upcoming presidential election, speculate that the foundation’s head tried to build an anti-corruption career for himself. They also compare this pose with the regime’s former president Ahmadinejad’s “populist” gestures.
In his remarks, Fattah slammed Khamenei’s advisor and the Parliament (Majlis) former speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel for seizing public properties and constructing a non-profit school. In response, Haddad-Adel, who is also the father-in-law of Khamenei’s son, claimed that I had taken that property according to Khamenei’s order.
On August 9, head of #Mostazafan [deprived] Foundation #ParvizFattah criticized individuals & entities, including former presidents, Khamenei’s advisor, & #IRGC, for illegal seizure of public property.
However, this “anti-corruption” figure retracted his remarks 10 days later. pic.twitter.com/C7962oWWBi
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) August 19, 2020
In his public video message, Haddad-Adel blamed Fattah and asked how didn’t you know that the property had been allocated to the Farhang school under Khamenei’s order? Haddad-Adel also mentioned that Fattah’s son was educated in the non-profit Farhang school.
Fattah also wept crocodile tears for public properties and attacked armed forces and the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC). “Armed forces are one of the parties we cannot deal with because we cannot legally complain against them. Now, Navy Forces have impounded a good property in Kuhak district. The supreme leader has ordered, and chief of staff General [Mohammad] Bagheri has signed. However, they do not hand over the property,” Fattah said.
“This belonged to the people and should be returned to the underprivileged… Even the IRGC… Despite my respect for the IRGC, but one of our good properties is in the hands of Vali-Amr IRGC. I respect you, but why you don’t return it?” he questioned.
However, ten days later, in a field interview with the YJC news agency, Fattah retracted his remarks and apologized to individuals and entities, which he had named. “Individuals and entities, which I named, had no personal use. It was my fault that I briefly listed and named them. There was no opportunity for more explanation. Maybe my data was imperfect, or I had not observed fairness. I would like to apologize to these dignitaries, particularly my dear brother Haddad-Adel publicly,” Fattah said.
Fattah tried to hide the clue of systematic corruption in Iran that would be ended to the Khamenei’s office. However, this is merely a sample of the new round of infighting among Khamenei’s faction. In recent days, former presidential candidate Mostafa Mir-Salim shed light on one of the Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf’s corrupt cases when he was Tehran Mayor.
Infighting among Khamenei’s faction:
Mir-Salim: Majlis Speaker Ghalibaf paid 650-billion-rial bribe
Ghalibaf’s allies reject Mir-Salim’s claim & file complaint
Fattah: Haddad-Adel constructed non-profit school on our foundation’s land
Haddad-Adel: Fattah’s son studied there! pic.twitter.com/xpDlyqZaVZ
— IranNewsUpdate (@IranNewsUpdate1) August 20, 2020
“For withdrawing from a research plan, 650 billion rials had been paid to only one chair of the parliamentary commission,” said Mir-Salim in a radio program on May 26. “When the tenth Majlis rejected investigation of the Tehran municipality, the then-mayor [Ghalibaf] appreciated for not voting on the issue,” he said in another program in June.
On August 11, the judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Esmaili acknowledged that a former MP had been detained due to receiving a 650-billion-rial bribe of Tehran municipality.
A journalist Yashar Soltani later exposed that the detained MP was Abolfazl Mousavi from Yazd city. “For 20 days, this former MP is in the judiciary custody and has confessed to receiving bribes to reject the Majlis’ research plan about Ghalibaf’s municipality era,” Soltani wrote.
In this respect, the state-run Arman daily mocked principlists in a piece titled, “The end of principlists’ honeymoon.”
“These days, strange events are taking place in principlists’ front. Leading figures, who were once either presidential candidates or dream of such a position, are revealing each other—revelation of financial cases. The right movement had been cheering for occupying the eleventh Majlis and was hastily going to capture different aspects of power. Now, in an unrivaled space, it has become its rival and its prominent figures are exposing each other’s corrupt cases,” Arman wrote.