The ingrained corruption of Iran’s IRGC and Quds Force

Instead of empowering and emboldening the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps through a renegotiated Iran nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, the international community should hold the organization and its elite Quds Force branch accountable for their crimes inside Iran and abroad, as well as for their corruption.

A leaked audio recording last month exposed large-scale corruption within the IRGC, along with its financing and support of militias, mercenaries and terror groups across the Middle East.

Radio Farda reported that the recording suggested that some of the country’s most powerful decision-makers were aware of or involved in corrupt practices, prompting a furious reaction in Tehran, including from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Significantly, the state-owned Fars news agency confirmed the authenticity of the clip.

Top Iranian figures such as parliament Speaker Mohammed Bagher Qalibaf are implicated in the massive corruption scheme.

When he was Tehran mayor, Qalibaf reportedly asked an official to “sign a phony contract with the IRGC in an attempt to cover up an 80 trillion-rial (about $2 billion at the time) shortfall discovered during an audit of the Cooperative Foundation.”

This has caused public outrage and confirmed the belief of the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people that the regime squanders their nation’s resources on militia and terror groups rather than helping its own people. One of the major reasons for the recurring protests in Iran is the people’s frustration over the regime’s mismanagement of the economy and the country’s resources.

A considerable part of the economy and Iran’s financial systems are owned and controlled by the IRGC and the Office of the Supreme Leader.

The IRGC alone controls between a third and half of Iran’s gross domestic product. It owns several major economic powerhouses and religious endowments, such as Astan Quds Razavi in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

The IRGC and the Quds Force are in charge of extraterritorial operations, including organizing, supporting, training, arming and financing predominantly Shiite militia groups; launching wars directly or indirectly via these proxies.

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