With vast control and dominance over Iran’s economic structure, the Iranian regime’s infamous Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), along with its affiliated institutions, has decided to expand their dominance even further, and devour more of the country’s wealth as they interfere with the rice market, destroying the lives of many people and their families who are already living in extreme poverty.
According to the regime’s Minister of Agriculture, Javad Sadatinejad, the government has allocated seven trillion rials to rice farming but has decided to hand over the project to the IRGC’s financial institution, the Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters, claiming that the implementation of this project will make the country independent in terms of the rice import market.
He said, “Our forecast is the cost of $3 billion or an amount of more than 900 million to one trillion rials from oil barter for this (subject) in five years.”
Since breaking, this news has caused a backlash among regime officials, including Jamil Alizadeh Shayek, the secretary of the regime’s Rice Association. In an interview with the state-run news agency ILNA on January 31, he expressed his opposition to IRGC’s interference.
He said, “I was shocked when I read the news of the allocation of seven trillion rials to this project. The Ministry of Agriculture manages research, executive, and agricultural organizations. How could it not take advantage of veteran and experienced experts in this field and give the rice self-sufficiency plan to an institution that does not have the necessary expertise in this field?”
On February 1, the Jahan-e Sanat daily wrote, “This action by the Ministry of Jihad for Agriculture to assign the responsibility of increasing rice production to a group unrelated to this field is somewhat peculiar considering that people say there is no possibility of self-sufficiency in rice production in the country and at least 750,000 tons must enter the country annually.”
He added, “Accordingly, experts and activists in the field of rice are shocked after hearing the news of the allocation of seven trillion rials to Khatam Base for rice cultivation and believe that the Ministry of Agriculture has outsourced the rice self-sufficiency plan to organizations that do not have the necessary expertise in this field. Some experts even express hope that this is just a rumor.”
Handing over the country’s rice production to the IRGC comes in circumstances where most of the farmers in southern Iran, especially in the Khuzestan Province, have lost their rice production and fields due to the IRGC’s destructive diversion of rivers to its water-intensive industries.
This action has led to deadly protests by the people most affected by the water shortages, with many people suffering greatly from the lack of drinking water.
In reality, since the start of Raisi’s administration, the IRGC has had free reins to loot the country’s resources even more than before, which is consistent with the regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei’s promise to create a new ‘Young Hezbollahi’ government.