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Lawmaker in Iran Demands A Thorough Investigation Of Corruption In Elections

Mahmoud Sadeqi blew the whistle on corruption in Iran's election watchdog, the Guardian Council. FILE PHOTO

An outspoken lawmaker in Iran has written to the country's head of Judiciary demanding more information on reports saying middlemen have been arrested who were brokering approval for parliamentary candidates.

In a letter to Ebrahim Raeesi (Raisi), the Mahmoud Sadeqi who first blew the whistle on corruption in connection with the country's election watchdog, the Guardian Council, called on the Chief Justice to ensure that in addition to the middlemen who have been arrested, "possible elements inside" the Council are also investigated and brought to justice.

In a tweet on January 27, Sadeqi (Sadeghi) said middlemen demanded up to 40 billion rials (about $300,000) from would-be candidates in parliamentary elections to ensure they were approved by the Guardian Council. The middlemen, Sadeqi said, had claimed they had influence with the Guardian Council.

In his letter to the Raeesi which he has published on his Twitter account today, Sadeqi said in the past two weeks the Intelligence Organization of the Guardian Council has identified a number of individuals, both inside and outside the Guardian Council, in connection with the bribery cases and made some arrests.

Sadeqi urged Raeesi to order the prosecutor's office to take over the case and request the public to come forth with information regarding these cases. He also said if the Judiciary directly gets involved, "the main perpetrators" within the Council can be held responsible.

Conservative Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi who was appointed to the post by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei a year ago has tried to build an anti-corruption image. After being appointed to the post he maintained that the country's judiciary was infested with financial corruption and widespread bribery.

Akbar Alami, a former lawmaker, has also confirmed the arrest of a number of middlemen in the bribery case involving the Guardian Council. In a Telegram post, Alami promised to publish the names and phone numbers of these middlemen and explain their methods of work.

The members of the Guardian Council which is dominated by the hardliners appointed by Khamenei has the power to disqualify individuals from running in any election. Reformists allege that the Council has eliminated their chances of winning in 230 out of the 290 seats of the Parliament in the upcoming elections by disqualifying their candidates.