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Corruption at the Central Bank of Iran

During political rivalries, IRGC-controlled media revealed that there is around $35 million interventional currency at Iran's Central Bank.

Iranian state-run news agencies affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) have announced the existence of massive corruption in the distribution of $35 billion in interventional currency at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). What are the range of this corruption and its effects?

On February 21, IRGC-linked news agencies, including Tasnim and Mehr, announced the existence of widespread corruption in the distribution of $35 billion interventional currency in the CBI and the arrest of some senior executives of the government’s banking system.

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However, in this news, no specific person was named, but earlier in some news, the detention of Rasool Sajjad, deputy international of the CBI, and Ehsan Moahfi, head of the CBI protector were mentioned.

In the meantime, Salar Agha Khani, who had the first row in the case of the Central Bank corruption, left the country in July 2019. As a representative for the exchange of the Ansar Bank, Agha Khani, dependent on the IRGC’s Cooperative Foundation, was accused of smuggling $160 million and €20 million and paid $118,000 in bribes. But the IRGC in February 2019 took him out of the country to the city of Najaf in Iraq.

Alongside Salar Agha Khani, the name of Seyyed Ahmad Araghchi, the then deputy of the Central Bank and the nephew of Abbas Araghchi, the political deputy of the Foreign Ministry, was also seen as another main defendant of the case.

Fighting Corruption or Faction Dispute?

But beyond the news of corruption in the central bank’s case and before any analysis and judgment about this news. You must first answer this question, what is the purpose of the publication of this news on the media affiliated with Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC?

As a preliminary reason, and when the government is trying to cover the dimensions of corruption within the government due to fear of popular protests, we should pay attention to this that this is because of the faction disputes within the government.

In other words, when Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s faction is trying to revive the dead nuclear deal known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), while the revival of the 2015 JCPOA is ideal and desirable of the Khamenei and the IRGC, broadcasting this news is a step towards the isolation of Rouhani’s faction in the nuclear case. And in the next step, removing this faction from the election box before the presidency is considered in favor of Khamenei’s faction.

This borehole is more strengthened in recent weeks that some of the people of Rouhani’s faction, including Abbas Akhundi, Former Minister of Road and Urban Development, in the game of approval or non-approval of the JCPOA, was hitting the drums of corruption and money laundering by the IRGC and its affiliated factions conducted by Khamenei.

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Some Other Examples of Corruption

As another example of these corruptions, we can point to the withdraw of $100 billion from Iran over the last two years, which was announced by Masoud Khansari, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Iran.

Khansari, on February 21, in an interview with the state-run website Fararou, announced that part of this money, ($100 billion) was used for housing purchases in neighboring countries.

The purchase of houses in Turkey has become a secure way for withdrawing currencies by government officials. So far, Turkey’s official statistics indicate that 7200 housing units only in 2020 are from Iranian citizens.

The figure, according to the Turkish Statistics Center for 2019, has grown by more than 33 percent compared to 2019 and 200 percent compared to 2018 and compared to 2017 and years before more than 1000 percent.

We can add to this list the withdrawal of $59 billion from Iran during the years 2017-2018 that the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Research Center has already announced.

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