- Published: Saturday, 02 November 2019
In reviewing how the financial empire of Ali Khamenei, the Iranian regime’s supreme leader, was formed, we should look at Iran's greatest political economy in 2005 as a turning point.
The supreme leader's office is the principal organization plundering the Iranian nation's wealth.
According to Khamenei's interpretation of Article 44 of the Constitution, “ownership” was transferred from the public sector to other parts of the state under the name of “privatization”. As a result, the privatization record in Iran has been a major failure from the beginning.
According to regime brokers, what was called privatization in Iran is about 12 to 13 percent. But government economists say the figure is an exaggeration, arguing that only 3% of privatizations in Iran are real. In practice, state-owned companies were transferred to the Revolutionary Guards under the leadership of Supreme Leader Khamenei.
This article deals with the structure of companies and holding companies of the Khatam-al-Anbia base and the wealth and fortune of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in oil, gas, petrochemical and other industries.
The structure of the largest financial trust in the Middle East
The Khatam Al-Anbia base is part of the IRGC. It began operating as a contractor for industrial and construction projects in 1989. Khatam’s policy states “the optimal use of the resources, facilities and economic potential of the IRGC in line with the expansion of the Islamic Revolution” is the most important goal of establishing this financial empire.
Khatam is the largest contractor of government projects in Iran and has 5000 contracting companies and 135,000 staff members, according to Abdullah Abdullahi, Khatam's then commander. (state-run Mashregh Newspaper, 2014)
This military-financial cartel has the full support of Khamenei in the following areas:
-Easy access to banks’ financial resources
-The everlasting possibility of non-formal bidding
-Obtaining government projects with a full security power
-Full tax exemptions
These factors created a mechanism by which the IRGC would monopolize industrial, civil and petroleum, gas and petrochemical projects and completely destroy the private sector.
Reasons for establishing Khatam Al Anbia base
Enriching the Revolutionary Guards
The Revolutionary Guards' economic activities began when they returned from the Iran-Iraq war fronts in 1988 and sought great rewards. But with its failed wartime economy, the regime was not responsive to the IRGC. Therefore, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s then-president, not only gave great credit to the IRGC to bolster the military build-up of missiles, but he also awarded major projects such as the Karkheh Dam to the IRGC to prevent the IRGC from interfering in politics. He also handed over the Saveh Highway to the IRGC without any formalities.
Greed for wealth was what led then-IRGC commander Mohsen Rezai to establish Khatam's engineering in 1989 and entrust it to IRGC member Vafaii, from the war oil engineering.
After that, Rafsanjani allowed IRGC commanders to freely import and export goods by building docks and special harbors in the country's southern waters without any customs control. The regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini also decreed that the IRGC was exempt from paying tributes to affiliated foundations in the province, in what was another reward for the IRGC in large investments over other regime factions.
From assassinating dissidents to destroying the Iranian economy
Khatam base today does not limit its activities to one field and does not accept projects worth less than 100 billion rials. From the Sadr Highway project in Tehran to phases 15 and 16 of South Pars; from Gotvand Dam and various highways to huge tunnels.
These are multi-billion dollar projects with all kinds of IRGC embezzlements.
Thus, the IRGC plundering reached the extent that the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani used the term “government with a gun” and spoke of the vast and multi-billion-dollar economic activity of the Khatam base. “Part of the economy was in the hands of a civil government that we handed over to a government with a gun. This is not economics and privatization," he said, according to the Presidency website in July 2017.
“The private sector can never reach and compete with Khatam,” said Ahmad Tavakoli, member of the regime’s expediency council. (State News Agency, ILNA May 2018). According to Tavakoli, “using the concentration of logistics facilities accumulated in the IRGC (due to war conditions), the base moves further and further away from the private sector, while:
- Khatam has special privileges such as tax exemption.
- Khatam base, like other economic activists, does not suffer from the harassment of regulatory agencies.
- According to the law of the Court of Accounts, the Inspectorate General of the country and other surveillance agencies (even the IRGC) are not allowed to enter and rebel activities!
In such an environment, corruption is not far from the expected."
Confession by the Revolutionary Guards about the Iranian economy
Following the U.S. Congress' approval of the plan to recognize the IRGC as a terrorist organization, Kayhan newspaper (under the control of Khamenei’s office) wrote on June 6, 2017:
“This law seeks to accuse the Revolutionary Guards of terrorism and limit the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its affiliates around the world by blocking property and prohibition... Since various individuals and institutions do transactions with the IRGC, whether inside Iran, including government, broadcasters, universities, corporations, and outside Iran, and are affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, the imposition of sanctions actually damages Iran's national economic interests. It also disturbs the national economy.”
Various individuals and institutions, both inside Iran, including the government, radio and television, universities, companies, and outside Iran are linked to the Revolutionary Guards (i.e. Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Yemeni Houthis, etc.).
They call this the confession of the dimensions of the repressive and anti-Iranian institutional crackdown against the Iranian economy.
The Revolutionary Guards(IRGC), which were supposed to be the guard of the revolution against the Great Satan! (That is, America as the regime describes) at the beginning of the revolution, became the slayer of young dissidents starting the 1980s.
IRGC from "Urban Gangsters" to "Largest Contracting Company"
Khatam Al-Anbia's base eventually became the largest contracting company in the Middle East, with the backing of Khamenei's office, thus bankrupting all private and public companies and leave them in misery.
It also entered into other parts of economic work, and in particular the purest one, the commercial bourgeoisie.
Thus, the Revolutionary Guards became the cancer of the Iranian economy, and its sanctioning had far-reaching effects.
These IRGC members are the true descendants of Khomeini who are now willing to kill not just the Iranian and Iraqi people, but all the nations of the region and the world, in order to preserve their money and their status.
It was like this that the hangmen of the 1980s rapidly transformed from “ Urban Gangsters the city into “Greatest oligarchies of the Iranian economy.”
Khatam Al Anbia Satellite and Chain Companies and Institutions
One of the most important measures taken by the IRGC to control Iran's economy is to establish satellite companies throughout the country. These satellite holdings are interconnected in a chain. From town to town, from province to province, from agriculture, oil, and gas to electronics, dams, and machinery.
Some of the components of this financial trust include:
First: Companies and Subsidiaries
Second: Khatam affiliated groups and holdings
Third: Oil and gas pipelines
Fourth: Gas and gas refinery
Fifth: Oil and oil refineries
Sixth: Petrochemical industry
Confession to tax exemption
The Khatam base, established in 1989, did not pay taxes until 2015. “After the rise in prices due to inflation and other problems, ... we were told at the same time that we were exempt from tax and then said that tax should be paid,” Abdulahi said. And taxes have been paid for a year. “
Widespread corruption of energy sources by Khatam Al Anbia base
Given the institutionalized corruption of the Iranian regime, the oil industry, with its enormous income and transactions and which is under Khtam control, is very attractive for the IRGC.
Therefore, the large and varied cases of economic abuse, embezzlement in different sectors of the oil industry are revealed one after another.
This includes formal contracts, bidding, sales of goods and services, domestic and international contracts to creating fake paper-companies, and so on. These are some of the types of corruption in the Iranian oil industry.
In the winter of 2017, a major corruption spill occurred in the exploration management of the National Iranian Oil Company. One of the company's financial executives, who worked as a bookkeeper for about five years, raised about 100 billion toman and eventually fled to Canada. It is clear that all these years of theft and such a large figure is not possible without the cooperation of the executives and other officials in the oil company. This also confirms that other IRGC members are complicit in the embezzlement.
Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh confessed in May 2018, to the embezzlement, saying: “One of the oil company's exploration management accounting staff said it started to steal some money from 1998-1999, this is a strange thing. In my thirty-year life, I've worked in government, I've never seen anyone withdraw from a corporate treasury. And then the person leaves the country in a matter of hours until I was told that there were over 2 billion tomans that had been collected over the years, we are not sure whether the person had a complicit or no, however, their cases were referred to the infringement board.
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