Corruption has penetrated Iran’s government structure so deeply that it’s impossible to rein it in using legal procedures, as the most egregious cases of corruption are tied to the Supreme Leader, says Gholamali Jafari Imanabadi, a member of the Majlis, Iran’s parliament.
In an interview with a local website on April 2, Imanabadi suggested starting the campaign against corruption with the Supreme Leader’s “beit,” or house in Arabic.
The term “beit” [pronounced bayt] has historically been used in the Islamic Republic to refer to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s amalgamation of traditional and modern bureaucracy and parallel state institutions directly under his control since he became Supreme Leader in 1989.
The physical location of the beit, Khamenei’s office, is located in central Tehran and is managed by mid-ranking cleric Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, whose son Mohammad Javad is married to Khamenei’s daughter Boshra.
Many analysts believe the beit is the true center of power in Iran, and the source of all major policies and decisions.
As a rule, the Supreme Leader’s beit has until now been considered off limits for critics. When reforms politician Mehdi Karroubi accused the beit of meddling in the 2009 presidential elections, he ended up under house arrest.
Nevertheless, there has since been some cautious grumbling about the beit and its role in running the country. However, it is still unprecedented for a sitting MP to single out the beit as the hub of corruption.
Imanabadi, a reformist from the city of Rasht, said corruption is “at the heart” of the ruling system. He went on to propose a cleansing of the judiciary and executive branch after the office of the Supreme Leader is dealt with. If nothing else, Imanabadi said, such an effort would restore the public’s trust in the ruling system.
The MP went on to say that financial graft is not the only form of corruption plaguing the Islamic Republic.
“Iran is also suffering from widespread moral corruption,” he said, alluding to improper networking among officials.
Earlier, veteran reformist politician Mostafa Tajzadeh also singled out the beit as a hotbed of corruption. In an open letter addressed to Ahmad Tavvakoli, a prominent conservative former MP from Tehran published March 18, Tajzadeh wrote that the Supreme Leader’s partisan response to corruption has helped it spread across the country.
Tajzadeh, 61, is a former deputy interior minister and advisor to President Mohammad Khatami, who was in office from 1997-2005.
The Supreme Leader “is the flag bearer of the campaign against corruption only verbally and in his remarks and speeches,” wrote Tajzadeh.
Speaking about the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that established the current ruling structure, he wrote, “We disregarded the fact that when control over the armed forces, the judiciary, the Guardian Council, state-run radio and TV, as well as a significant bulk of the national economy are granted to one single person, the possibility of that single person’s tending toward dictatorship will be much higher.”
Iran scored 30 out of 100 points and ranked 130th out of 180 countries across the world in the latest Transparency International report.