- Published: Tuesday, 05 May 2020
The catastrophic spread of the coronavirus in Iran and the severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment to combat the spread of the disease, as well as the inability of the government to meet this need of both the medical staff and the people of Iran, have attracted attention to the operation of the regime’s Ministry of Health.
Meanwhile, the regime’s President Hassan Rouhani tried to divert blame, linking the lack of medicine in Iran to US sanctions and saying:
“Unfortunately, there are those who even blocked our medicine. They blocked the food to our people and did the worst thing in these two years against the Iranian nation. They also came and appeared with a sympathetic mask that we want to help the Iranian nation. If you are really honest, at least lift the medicine embargo. This is the first step.”
Is Rouhani’s claim true?
The United States government reacted quickly to Rouhani's claim, saying on several channels that medicine had never been and will never be sanctioned. The US State Department also cited allegations of institutional corruption in the Velayat-e Faqih (mullahs’) regime, citing government officials, and tweeted about the disappearance of €1 billion budget for the purchase of medical supplies and the €2 million for the purchase of heart stent, which was used for the purchase of electric cables and exposed Rouhani’s corrupt government.
What happened to the one billion euros that were lost?
In August 2019, state media reported that €1.2 billion had been lost which were considered for the medical supplies in 2018 during Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi’s leadership of the Ministry of Health, which were paid to the ministry.
Ghazizadeh resigned in January 2019, when the issue of his impeachment was raised in the parliament for various reasons, including corruption, so that his impeachment would not reveal the matter.
Saeed Namaki, Ghazizadeh's successor, said on 17 November 2019: “It is not clear exactly who took the $1.3 billion in medical equipment and what he brought and gave to whom?” However, for the first time, he referred to the organized corruption in the Food and Drug Administration of the Ministry of Health. Although Namaki did not go into the details of "organized corruption" in the organization, it showed the center of corruption.
Why is the Food and Drug Administration the center of corruption?
This organization has 10 tasks in the Ministry of Health, the most important of which are the preparation, purchase, and supply of medicine, powdered milk, equipment, and medical items. An organization that has billions of dollars in money and is not subject to US sanctions. For this reason, it is more tempting to hide from the eyes of the medicine mafia. This is just the connection between the Ministry of Health and the medicine mafia in the country.
Who are the heads of the medicine mafia?
Namaki arrived at the Ministry of Health on 4 February 2019, and three days later he appointed Mehdi Pir-Salehi as head of the Food and Drug Administration. At the same time, Pir Salehi is a member of the board of directors of Alborz Daroo, a subsidiary of Barkat Holding, a subsidiary of the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order (EIKO). The same headquarters whose owner and the possessor is the regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Looking at the composition of the board members of the Barkat Pharmaceutical Group, the issue becomes clearer. The chairman of the board of directors of the Barakat Pharmaceutical Group is someone named Hamid Reza Jamshidi.
In May 2019, he was appointed as Advisor to the Minister of Health. Ten months later, this person was appointed as the Secretary of the National Headquarters of Corona Management with the expansion of coronavirus in the country. In other words, the Ministry of Health's medicine purchasing consultant is the head of the pharmaceutical production holding. Isn't this rent and institutionalized corruption?
But this is just the peak of an iceberg of the medicine mafia in Iran. The name of other persons are as follows:
Nasrullah Fattian is the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Barkat Pharmaceutical Group, the Managing Director of Barkat Pharmaceutical Industrial Park, and a Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General.
Dr. Akbar Barandegi, CEO of Barkat Pharmaceutical Group, is also the Director-General of Medicine and Drug Supervision of the Food and Drug Administration in the Ministry of Health.
Thus, it is difficult to distinguish between the Ministry of Health, which belongs to the government, and the Barkat Pharmaceutical Group, which is only one of the subordinate institutions of EIKO.
This is because all members of the board of directors of Barkat Pharmaceutical Group have been appointed to key positions in the Ministry of Health.
The Barakat Pharmaceutical Group is under the control of the EIKO which is in the possession of the regime’s supreme leader.
So, the subject is not too complicated. The godfather of this medicine mafia is no one other than Khamenei himself. This is how Khamenei has four-fifths of the wealth of the country in its hands.