Outspoken member of parliament from Tehran Mahmoud Sadeghi is once again taking aim at what he says is vast corruption in Iran’s government.
Sadeghi lambasted his fellow legislators in a recent tweet storm for their endorsement of “obscure” budget auditing practices, as well as the Guardians Council (GC), which he accuses of hand-picking candidates loyal to the Supreme Leader.
Sadeghi again criticized the Parliament’s practice of auditing its own budget.
"Why can’t Parliament’s budget be audited in a transparent manner?” he tweeted on January 28, “Why are there no reports published about Parliament’s financial records?”
Several other MPs have harshly criticized the legislatures’s auditing procedures as oblique and non-transparent.
Sadeghi also has taken to Twitter recently to criticize the GC, which he says has blocked "courageous candidates" who, if allowed to run for office, would combat financial and political corruption.
According to the Islamic Republic’s laws, citizens cannot just announce their candidacy and run in elections. The GC must first vet prospective candidates and approve them. Sometimes even very prominent regime insiders are disqualified if the GC, whose members are appointed by the Supreme Leader, disqualifies them.
Sadeghi accused the council of taking bribes from candidates in exchange for endorsing them. The GC fired back, with spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei demanding Sadeghi prove his allegations.
"Fortunately, a number of people who have been asked to pay bribes in exchange for [GC] endorsement… are prepared to testify in front of the supervisory board of elections,” Sadeghi claimed in response.
The outspoken lawmaker, who is known for his focus on economic reform, transparency, and financial discipline, has singled out 120 state-owned institutions and organizations, including the state monopoly on radio and television networks, the national oil company and its subdivisions, and military enterprises he says need more financial oversight and monitoring from the government.
He says that in the absence of this oversight, corruption has become rampant across the country. He argues Iran has fallen into a “corruption trap” from which there is no will to escape.
“Why is parliament devoid of the serious will necessary for fighting corruption? Why are we cooperating with corrupt figures, and why are we afraid to publicly name those who have astronomically overdue debts [to the banks]?” the former cleric and seminary scholar said.
Transparency International ranks Iran 138 out of 180 countries in its financial transparency rating.