Millions of dollars were transferred from Iran’s embassy in Baghdad to accounts belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in transactions that violate diplomatic norms, according to various media reports.
Some 60 billion IQD ($40 million) was channeled to the IRGC’s Quds Force (IRGC-QF), which is responsible for the IRGC’s extraterritorial activity, Saudi daily Okaz said in a May 27 report.
The money was transferred through accounts in Iraqi banks held by the Iranian embassy in Baghdad and two Iranian energy companies: Tavanir (Iran’s Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company) and MAFNA (Iranian Power Plant Processes Management Co.).
Over the past two years, Okaz reported, Iranian ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi, who was replaced in April, withdrew large sums of money from the accounts of the two Iranian companies.
He then placed these funds in the Iranian embassy’s account in the Commercial Bank of Iraq, the report said.
The transfers were done under the guise of financing normal embassy activities but were actually intended to support the IRGC-QF, according to Okaz.
Earlier this year, on February 17, the Saudi al-Hadath TV channel quoted unnamed sources as saying that the IRGC-QF had obtained $10 billion from Iran’s embassy in Baghdad.
The available funds are part of Iraq’s payment of its accumulated debt to Iran for purchasing electricity and gas from Iranian energy companies.
Baghdad largely relies on Iranian gas to operate its power plants, with Iran responsible for a minimum of 30% of Iraq’s energy.
Breach of diplomatic norms
Rather than directing funds from Iraq’s debt repayment to help Iranians overcome the colossal economic challenges they face, the Iranian regime is using the sums to pursue its expansionist regional policies, observers said.
They accuse Tehran of manipulating the Iraqi banking system to circumvent international efforts to track the IRGC’s interests and assets using front companies.
They also accuse Tehran of evading responsibility for its direct involvement in the financing of regional militias.