Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is going out of his way to say that he is fighting financial corruption at the highest levels of the regime by conducting mass arrests, as various officials accuse each other of corruption.
Now, these accusations are just par for the course when it comes to factional infighting in the Iranian regime and corruption is nothing new in the regime. The only thing new is the idea that the regime could clamp down on institutionalized corruption. This is a lie and completely antithetical to the regime.
When the mullahs took power in 1979, they promised to “empower the impoverished”, but they’ve really been robbing the Iranian people. This stolen money funds the regime’s terrorism, proxy wars, and the lavish lifestyles of regime elites. The only way to get stinking rich in Iran is to be affiliated with a state-run institution that robs from the people.
Economist Hossein Zaghfar, who himself is affiliated with the regime told Arman Meli Daily that those “arrested today were only carrying out the orders of their superiors”.
He said: “Unfortunately, many officials were complicit in the corruption and if (corruption) is being dealt with, they should also be dealt with. Unfortunately, corruption in our country is institutionalized in the sense that existing decision-making structures themselves are corrupt and even those who are involved in this system but do not participate in corruption are automatically eliminated from the wheel of power.”
Zaghfar added: “As long as this way of distributing economic rents of natural resources, which is the main source of wealth for those close to the centre of power, is not corrected, many of the country’s problems, especially corruption will remain.”
He advised that this institutionalized corruption meant that Iranians had lost their “trust” in government bodies, which he said was the most important thing, but the people have lost more than that.
The only reason that Khamenei is now trying to show that he is dealing with corruption is that he is terrified of the angry Iranians who blame him for their financial problems. They rightly see that he is the source of corruption in Iran. (How else could he have $200 billion in assets?) So, he’s making a show of arresting corrupt officials and “cleansing” institutions, but the top-ranking officials that he appointed, like former Chief of Judiciary Amoli Larijani, are also embroiled in extensive corruption scandals but are not being arrested.
Khamenei might hang some low-level officials for corruption, but this will not fool Iranians and someday soon they will come for him.