The clerical rule in Iran, which began with the occupation of the Iranian people’s sovereignty, later led to the capture the dominance over the country’s wealth and national recourses. As the Iranian people’s stolen wealth and assets were distributed between its officials and key elements, an ugly creature was created, called “the golden signatures.”
When the people have to get permission from a government official to carry out economic activities, these government officials resort to a ‘golden signature’ to agree to this, and corruption and seizures of people’s property begin.
The officials of this regime demand huge sums of money or great facilities in return for the signatures they issue or the licenses they issue, and from this tradition created by the ayatollahs, Gholamreza Mansouri, Rasoul Danialzadeh and Akbar Tabari rose up in Iran’s bureaucracy.
These signatures can lead to the transfer of billions of rials. The role of the owners of these signatures in the direction and result of the work at their disposal has opposite consequences. Thus, if one signature leads to faster execution of the work, the other signature on the same letter leads to the delayed execution of the instructions, sometimes for months and years.
Ahmad Tavakoli is one of the regime’s key elements who started the so-called ‘Transparency and Justice Watch organization’ in Iran a few years ago. When the golden signatures in government offices, the source of astronomical corruption, complex embezzlement, and billion-dollar bribery, were in their infancy, he called it ‘the systematic corruption‘ during factional disputes. He was attacked by the faction of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei that there is no ‘systematic corruption.’ About this systematic corruption, Tavakoli said:
“This has led to a gradual increase in corruption in offices and apparatuses, corrupters are linked, corruption is created in the executive apparatus, legislation, and decision-making. This causes systematic corruption and spreads throughout the economy. When corruption takes root in all sectors, it becomes very difficult to deal with it. Such as corruption in the government, corruption in the parliament, the judiciary, or municipalities,” Tejarat-e-Farda daily wrote on October 16, 2016.
“Recently, Alireza Razm Hosseini, the minister proposed by Hassan Rouhani to lead the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, who was preparing for a vote of confidence in the parliament. “We need to get rid of bureaucracy and reduce or eliminate golden signatures,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying on September 26.
But when he arrived at the ministry, he became better acquainted with the harsh reality of the golden signatures by government figures in Khamenei’s subordinate offices and rent-seeking in the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, and took a step back. “We are dealing with golden signatures. The interests of many will be jeopardized, some have been accustomed to working with rent-seeking for years,” Alef website wrote November 5, 2020.
Last year, after revealing the role of golden signatures in the country’s Food and Drug Administration.
“Unfortunately, in recent years, golden signatures have entered the country’s pharmaceutical industry and health system like a cancerous tumor, such that the removal of this cancerous gland from the body of the Ministry of Health requires major surgery; surgery that may have consequences for the owners of these golden pens,” Mashregh News website wrote on May 11, 2019.
Minister of Health Saeed Namaki also said that some people in the Food and Drug Administration still have golden signatures and can advance their work by rent-seeking or causing delays.
It was in this context that a corruption case with several golden signatures became the talk of the media. In the same case, about $400 million worth of cosmetics with the 4,200 Tomans currency were imported into the country in the name of medicine.
Ali Nobakht Haghighi, a member of the parliamentary health commission, said: “The issue of the golden signatures in the health system is a fact, as we see when a specific person or a general office decides to import or establish a factory.”
Hamid Kheiri, head of public relations of the Iranian Pharmacists Association “The issue of golden signatures is an issue that is rooted in the slow bureaucracy in government agencies,” FARS news agency quoted him as saying on May 11, 2019.
Azari Jahromi, the Minister of Communications of the Rouhani government, said during factional disputes: “If the national broadcasting gives enough time, I will describe the mafia-making processes and the corrupt golden signatures and explain to the people why the e-government is not going as it should.”
“The seven-headed dragon of corruption with all its 1,300 golden signatures must be slaughtered,” the semi-official ISNA news agency cited his tweet on August 25, 2018.
Seyyed Hossein Marashi, one of the well-known figures of the so-called reformists who has spent many years in the executive and legislative branches of the regime, while acknowledging the collapse of the economic system, said: “The fact that there is news of major corruption every day is rooted in the lack of economic balance. When the economy goes out of balance, rent-seeking is created and signatures turn golden. This is the main field of corruption,” Eghtesad Online website wrote on September 28, 2019.