An unstable political situation for the regime has been created by the large gap in power, the prospect of Khamenei’s death and the succession dispute. Additionally, the coming Presidential Election in the spring of 2017 has affected the economy of the country.
With the disclosure that bank managers, insurance companies, and the government seniors that have salaries reaching to hundreds of thousands dollars each, the issues characterize the regime’s bureaucracy and is part of the power struggle between the two factions of the regime.
This struggle is also going on in the economic field. New oil contracts signed by the government have become a battleground between military and political forces. “The military commanders believe that the Ministry of Petroleum has ignored the national security and the right of ownership of these contracts while the Minister of Petroleum, Bijan Zangeneh states that his opponents are worried about losing their own benefits,” writes the NCRI, and adds, “The Minister of Petroleum started his tenure by sacking a wide range of managers since he took the office. He immediately dismissed 60 directors and assigned his former colleagues into office.”
IRGC opposed the government’s approach, especially in the field of oil and related industries. Some MPs intended to reopen the controversial Crescent oil contract in which Bijan Zangeneh had a significant role in previous years.The dispute caused Bijan Zangene ito state that he would voluntarily resign from the Oil Ministry by the end of the current government.
“In order to make a concession to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the government has assigned one of the senior commanders, Rostam Ghasemi as the vice president. He is the former head of a giant contracting cartel of Khatam Brigade. Nevertheless, on February 1, 2016, the government decided to dismiss Rostam Ghasemi since he actively prevented the implementation of oil contracts. Two days earlier, a number of IRGC and Basij forces rallied in front of the Ministry of Petroleum and protested against the new agreements on oil projects which have been signed between Iran and the West.38 protesters were arrested and then released,” writes the NCRI.
That the oil contracts are the centre of dispute between the sides, is clear. Rouhani’s government finally surrendered and approved the Persian Oil Company and Khatam Brigade as the Iranian companies which partake with foreign companies in new oil contracts, after several months. Rouhani gave another concession to the IRGC for handing over 50 development projects to Khatam Brigade in June 2016.