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Discrepancy and Systematic Discrimination: Wages of Workers Versus Managers in Iran

To find out the extent of systemic discrimination in Iran, a look at the pockets of regime insiders will be much more enlightening.

In the Persian calendar year 1401 (March 2022- March 2023), the government set the minimum wage for workers at 4.18 million tomans, while the poverty line reached 15 million tomans. This obviously indicates a severe difference between the minimum wage and the poverty line.

Meanwhile, as a corrupt regime like the one in Iran cannot be trusted with transparency, it’s worthwhile to draw conclusions from what leaks to the outside world to understand what the exploitation rate in Iran looks like.

If we consider 6.7 million tomans as an average base of a worker’s earnings, which given the average exchange rate of IRR versus USD equals $158.50, it might provide some insight into the hardships of Iranian workers’ lives.

When offering his budget plan for the new year, the regime’s president Ebrahim Raisi vowed to increase workers’ salaries by 27%. Whereas the official annual inflation was 46.5%, and the regime should have matched this rate with the inflation to enable people to make ends meet.

To find out the extent of systemic discrimination in Iran, a look at the pockets of regime insiders will be much more enlightening.

The Committee on Security and Counterterrorism of the National Council of Resistance of Iran disclosed documents obtained from within the regime regarding the Ghadir Investment Company. The data was interesting and thought-provoking.

Ghadir Investment Company is one of the 14 financial empires of the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A look at the company chart of this financial giant shows that it is a huge economic empire built by Khamenei’s trusted circle.

The conglomerate has seven huge holdings, which include:

Ghadir Investment Company has a diverse portfolio of capital investments spanning various industrial and commercial sectors, including but not limited to refineries, petrochemicals, mining, steel, insurance, power, transportation, communications, construction, and pharmaceuticals. The company boasts 11 petrochemical plants, each generating astronomical revenues.

But a look at the salaries of some managers of Ghadir Investment Company in the year 1400 on the Persian calendar (2021-2022) is even more revealing.

As a CEO and a member of the board of directors at Ghadir Investment Company, Amir Abbas Hosseini’s official salary was 120.949 million tomans.

Nevertheless, the actual income he gained was far from the books. For example, he received 173.5 million tomans “for working overtime”, and 15 million tomans for his special winter earnings.

His accounting also revealed three separate receipts of 108.9 million tomans, 108.6 million tomans, and nearly 300,000 tomans without any description or clarifications.

In the Persian year 1400, Hosseini earned more than 725 million tomans, whereunder he got 103 million tomans for mission rights, children’s care, special Eid package, etc. which makes more than 60 million tomans a month.

Despite Hosseini’s official income of over 700 million tomans, his shares in state-affiliated corporations and other unofficial sources make this figure appear insignificant.

In comparison, the annual monthly salary of a worker in 1400 was at most 4.25 million tomans, equating to 51 million tomans annually.

This stark contrast highlights the vast income disparity between state-affiliated individuals of authority and hardworking laborers who dedicate their lives to fortune-producing machines.

According to documents obtained, Hasan Yahivi Razlighi, the acting vice president of companies under Ghadir Investment Company, received an official salary of 530 million tomans. Adding in the extra commission for travel expenses, his income for the year 1400 was 600 million tomans, which is 19 times the minimum wage.

The same documents reveal that Razlighi received 9.75 million tomans in lunch money alone. Considering that the average person spends about 27% of their salary on food, the cost of Razlighi’s lunches alone could surpass the cost of feeding a family of four.

Saeed Yazdanfar, the Director of Administration and Logistics, received a salary of more than 633 million tomans in 1400, which is almost 20 times the minimum wage.

Azizaleh Ramezani, Vice President of Planning, received a salary of 600 million tomans in 1400, which was almost 19 times the minimum wage in 1400.

Ali Adibi, the manager of Legal Affairs of this holding, received a salary of more than 626 million tomans in 1400.

Qasem Ali Jamali, Vice President of Investment, received a salary of 630 million tomans in 1400. Like his peers, Jamali holds high positions in other associated businesses like being on the board of directors of the Ghadir Symbol Financial Group and a shareholder in Damavand Capital Supply Company, among others.

As the Investment and plans manager of Ghadir Investment Company, Jamali played a major role in registering 11 subsidiary companies of the Ghadir Capital and Industry Development Company (Ghadir Cement Holding) on the stock market.

Masoud Gudarzy, the director of internal audition at one of Ghadir’s Imperia, received a salary of 614 million tomans in 1400. His name can also be found on the list of members of the audit committee of the International Building Development Company.

Manouchehr Zahmatkesh received a salary of 565 million tomans as the Financial Manager of Ghadir Investment Company. But officially, he is registered as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Ghadir Symbol Financial Group which automatically accumulates more official income and privileges.

Despite their overwhelming income and wealth, these individuals still have an appetite for accumulating more money.

According to the documents disclosed by the NCRI Committee on Security and Counterterrorism, the members of the board of directors of holdings and subsidiaries at Ghadir have filed complaints and requested bonuses as follows:

  • CEO’s bonus: up to 4 times the CEO’s salary for the financial year of 1401 on the Persian calendar
  • The bonus for a chairman of the board of directors: up to triple the salary of the CEO for the financial year 1401
  • The bonus of a board member: up to double the CEO’s salary and for five board members up to 14 times the CEO’s salary

Another document disclosed by the NCRI was a letter from a financial supervisor of the Setareh Sabz Siraf Refinery Company to the deputy CEO of this enterprise which spoke volumes about the pay gap.

This letter shows that 77 copies of the personnel contract were handed over to the financial department on August 21, 2022, for review. In 22 copies of these contracts, the amount listed as basic salary, payment for overtime, and recruitment rights range from 2 million to 18 million tomans.

According to this letter, the salary increase was signed by the human resources manager in June 2022, but the CEO, who was a person named Moshtaqi, denied being aware of the matter.

Hence, workers received no salary increase and all previous recommendations were deleted. However, the relevant contracts have been physically kept in the administrative unit.

The author of the letter also added that this may cause problems for the company in the future. Responding to the author, the deputy CEO asked the relevant unit to keep all contracts sealed until further notice.

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