Finding the plundering of the Iranian people’s wealth insufficient, the mullahs have found another way to dig deep in the pockets of the citizens. These are state-operated charities, which are heavily involved in money laundering, tax-free import-export, and other illicit financial transactions.
In an article titled, ‘Why the Iranian politicians are interested in founding a charity,’ the state-run Aftab-e Yazd daily named regime officials who are running private charities to further pilfer the Iranian society. The daily wrote, “Most of these charities are exempted from paying taxes on the pretext of engaging in cultural and economic activities. They also receive other services, like construction license, etc.” On February 12, the state-run Fars news agency quoted MP Behrooz Mohebi, who said, “These charities should tell the people what have they done so far? What are the sources of their donations? And how are they investing them?”
The charities in Iran are so profitable that some of the regime’s clerics have changed their jobs to set up charities or have become employees in some of them and added to the payroll.
On January 21, the state-run Hawzah News agency asked, “Is the student who founded a charity a soldier of religion? For what reason did the student come to the seminary? Now he is an employee of the (Khomeini’s) Relief Foundation. For that, he did not need to study theology for 15 years.”
Regarding the tax-exempt status of these charities, the state-run daily Bahar News wrote on January 15, “All tax exemptions should be removed from the country’s ‘tax culture’. There are no reason for the charities, religious and cultural sectors to use the exemption. Exemptions should be eliminated, and, like the other businesses, they should pay taxes. The situation is such that various institutions and individuals register charities overnight to avoid paying taxes.”
Back in May 2019, the state-run website Tabnak exposed one of many examples of corruption at the heart of these charities. It wrote, “A charity has received more than $6.6 million and 2.2 million euros. Who owns this charity? Investigation shows that this charity has been able to receive foreign currency in dollars from the central bank.”
This ‘godsend’ money has incentivized regime officials to found charities. The disorganized circulation of money is being executed on an unclear and complex ground so that officials can continue to fleece the Iranian people unashamedly.
As it pertains to these charities, the fundamental problem is that the regime’s top institutions affiliated with the regime’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei are corrupt to the core themselves. These institutions include the Khomeini Relief Foundation, the Mostazafan (Abased) Foundation, and the Astan Quds Razavi Endowment, one of the wealthiest in all of Iran.
While the regime attempts to compensate for its budget deficit by increasing taxes, cost of public services, and commodity prices, which further impoverishes the people, these organizations and charities are free from paying taxes.