The IRGC and Iran’s “Water Mafia”

The IRGC and Iran’s “Water Mafia”
          The IRGC and Iran’s “Water Mafia”



Several weeks ago, Saeed Mohammad’s name made the rounds as a possible candidate for Iran’s upcoming presidential election in June for Water Mafia.


Observers started looking into the past of the relatively unknown general, who was the former head of dam building firm Sepasad and now serves as the chief of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters.


The rather young general, who likes to be called Dr. Mohammad, has connections to reformists and conservatives with deep pockets and powerful allies.


With some reformists calling for a new military leader to run after the term of the current president, Hassan Rouhani comes to an end, some might say he should consider himself lucky to be in the right place at the right time.


Mohammad’s potential candidacy raises some immediate questions as well. The first one that comes to mind is how does a dam builder come into the picture in the first place?


Iran has been hit hard by a devastating water crisis and some conservative political operatives see him, as the head of the country’s largest construction firm, as someone who can solve problems — a relatively young general who the supreme leader trusts.


The next question that arises is what exactly does the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is known for intervening in regional politics, sending fighters to Syria and Iraq, and threatening international shipping in the Persian Gulf, have to do with water management?


After the fall of the shah in 1979, the IRGC was created to protect and export the Islamic revolution.


In the years since it has evolved into a significant military and financial player in its own right. Khatam al-Anbiya, its construction arm, gets funding from the government for all kinds of major building projects, including oil and gas and petrochemical plants, dams, tunnels, and water transfer schemes.


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