Iran regime president facilitates IRGC’s incursion into economy – In early October 2014, a senior official of the Iranian regime stated that the major projects on the Kish Island (one of the most important islands in the northern Persian Gulf region) have been ceded to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) such as building airports and seaports among others.
Akbar Torkan, chief advisor to Hassan Rouhani and ‘Secretary of Free Zones Coordination Council’, in fact highlighted that Hassan Rouhani government’s economic policy is the continuation of Ahmadinejad’s work.
The extents of these relinquishments to the IRGC by Hassan Rouhani government is like giving a village with everything in it from one baron to another baron under a feudal system.
To this end, Torkan took along Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), with him to when visiting Farvar Island near Kish Island.
Ali Fadavi said in Farvar Island: “We ask the IRGC to use its capacities to promote this Island.”
With these cedings, IRGC has become the most important employer in Iran and the biggest cartel in the Middle East with these relinquishments that are unchecked, unmonitored and without competitor.
For many years there has been no significant area of Iran’s economy where a major part of it or is its majority has not been taken over takeover by the IRGC. These areas consist of oil and gas, banking, telephone and telecommunication, mining, automobile manufacturing, tractor manufacturing, steel, cement, construction, dam, harbor and airport, food, import, market, $12 billion contraband market, etc.
In 2008, in the biggest deal in the history of Iranian stock market, fifty percent of Iran Telecommunication Company worth nearly eight billion dollars was sold to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
This transaction was made possible with a blatant government intervention in which a competing buyer was easily set aside for its ‘lack of security qualification’.
Oil and gas industry similarly is the target of invading Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
In past years, when the Turkish companies announced their withdrawal from Phase 3 of South Pars Oil and Gas development project (the most important Iranian gas field in the Persian Gulf where French Total also has some investment), this $7 billion project was given to IRGC’s major engineering arm Khatam al-Anbia also known as “GHORB” without any auction.
With the withdrawal of the British-Dutch Shell and Spanish Repsol from South Pars oil and gas field, this $5 billion project too was given to the IRGC without any auction, as well as 900-kilometer gas pipeline construction within Iran worth one billion and 300 million dollars and the construction of three oil pipeline worth $850 million.
The value of oil and gas contracts given to the IRGC was announced up to $25 billion at one point.
“Legal” support of the government in conjunction with the intimidation by the IRGC make these deals possible.
Such transactions, in addition to huge profits, wherever necessary, “deals” also with social and security problems.
For instance, whenever employers do not show firmness when facing successive demonstrations and strikes by workers at a firm, the IRGC buys all or most of the affected institutions and dismisses “incompetent” managers along with “troubling” employees altogether.
In 2009 the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took over ‘Kurdistan Tractor Manufacturing Compony’ with such method. Managing Director and other managers of the company were opposed to the IRGC’s domination of over their factory. But with IRGC’s warning they were forced to resign.
Most of economic activities of the IRGC are directed by a giant business-military organization called ‘ Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters’. This institution was created after the Iran-Iraq War by the order of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei and is considered the largest contractor of government projects.
According to officials, this military-economic complex has so far done 4560 projects in Iran. Among them nearly 13 million development projects have been relinquished to this institution.
IRGC rigadier General Ebadullah Abdullahi, commander of Khatam-al Anbiya says that currently over 130,000 employees and 5000 contractors work with this camp.
Estimating IRGC’s share of the GDP seems impossible, but estiamates suggests one-third to two-thirds of GDP.
This giant complex is exempt of any tax, monitoring and accountability and is outside of annual budget bills. It is one of the largest funding resources for internal suppression, the production of nuclear weapons and the IRGC Qods Force activities in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. It is estimated that the broad participation of the IRGC in civil war in Syria in the past three years has cost at least $ 50 billion for the Iranian economy.
One of the other effects of IRGC’s domination over Iranian economy has been prevention of growth of the private sector and the middle class, which can threaten the survival of the Iranian regime in its evolution process.
In addition, with this degree of involvement of IRGC in the economy, virtually it is the party to all European and Asian companies investing in the purchase of goods from that country or contracts in Iran. In this way the Iranian Revolutionary Guards controls Iran’s relations with foreign states and attempts to influence Western governments’ policies toward Iran by its front companies in Europe and America.
With the start of Hassan Rouhani’s presidency in August 2013, some predicted that economic activities of IRGC would be restricted. But one month after the beginning of his administration, Hassan Rouhani rescinded these predictions on September 16, 2013.
He told a gathering of the IRGC commanders: ‘Iranian Revolutionary Guards must carry part of the burden of the government. Iranian Revolutionary Guards is not a competitor to the private sector and must take on major projects.’ (IRNA, September 16, 2013)
The statements of Hassan Rouhani that have been implemented in the past year, does not only indicate the financial reliance of the government on IRGC. It expresses a profound truth: The government’s economic policy, anyway, follows the ideological interests of the regime. As a result, the economic priorities of the Iranian regime, is to cover the expenses of internal repression, nuclear program and dominance in the region, as long as this regime rules.