Iranian Officials Try To Downplay $3 Billion Corruption Case

An extensive effort is under way in Iran to downplay a major financial corruption case at the Mobarakeh Steel Plant, involving many influential regime insiders.

The details of the corruption scheme reaching $3 billion was exposed by a social media activist after the Iranian parliament published the outcome of an investigation into the case, without naming names.

Although the report presented by the Majles (parliament) vaguely pointed out that many individuals and government organizations were implicated in the case, documents revealed by whistleblowers on social media showed that many regime insiders and organizations affiliated with both leading political factions took bribes from the steel company.

The steel firm paid threw around hundreds of millions of dollars trying to coopt all regime insiders and buy their silence, while its managers engaged in corrupt business practices.

Mobarakeh Steel is a publicly traded company, but government entities hold most shares and managers are political appointees similar to dozens of other government businesses.

Those implicated include political and cultural figures, journalists, publishers, top clerics and their family members, as well as tens of media outlets affiliated with various political factions in Iran.

Semi-officials news agency ISNA reported on Monday that 168 of the 290 lawmakers at the Majles voted for referring the case to the Judiciary. However, various actors have been trying to downplay the significance of the case.

Corruption ‘not systemic’

There has also been a great deal of efforts in the media to prove that corruption is not institutionalized in the government.

There is also a lot of sensitivity on the part of government officials including President Ebrahim Raisi toward the term “systemic corruption.” Raisi’s preferred description is “organized corruption.”

Some influential members of Iran’s political elite listening to Supreme Leader ALi Khamenei, April 12, 2022

Although many news outlets such as Mehr news agency and government officials have tried to attribute the corruption case to the government of President Hassan Rouhani, the ten-page list that has been published on social media includes current and former officials.

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