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In A Sign Of Increasing Poverty Relief Fund Applicants Rise To Five Million

An Iranian man attempts to commit suicide by leaping from a communication's tower in central Tehran in protest to corruption and poverty, Ju;y 8, 2014

The president of the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee (IKRC) says the number of applicants seeking assistance from the charity has nearly gone up 50 percent.

In an interview with state-run Channel 2 TV on Monday evening, Parviz Fattah announced, “As soon as the IKRC along with the President, his administration and the parliament announced that we were going to increase our clients’ monthly allowances threefold, the number of applicants for being covered by IKRC has nearly gone up to 50%.”

Meanwhile, he maintained that the institution under his supervision is trying to identify the “real clients” to assist them.

Fattah, a former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander and energy minister under President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, also said, “The IKRC has nearly 5 million clients, of whom 3 million are directly covered and receive monthly allowances, while 2 million are receiving assistance according to their cases.”

Fattah, who was appointed directly by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said there are nearly 11 million people receiving allowances from Iranian state-run institutions.

He admitted that the number of Iranians living under the poverty line is increasing every day.

After the surprise uprising against poverty, dictatorship, corruption, and unemployment that broke out on December 28 in the city of Mashhad and spread to more than 100 cities across Iran, officials have repeatedly raised the alarm over the danger of poverty and its consequences.

Logo of Imam Khomeini Aid Committee in Tajikistan, which banned the organization in July 2016.
Logo of Imam Khomeini Aid Committee in Tajikistan, which banned the organization in July 2016.

“The government supplies us with 75 percent of our finances,” Fattah said. “More than 10 percent of popular donations go to our foundation, too.”

While the head of another state-run foundation, Mohammad Mokhber Dezfuli, has recently announced that 12 million people live below the “absolute poverty line” and 25 million to 30 million more live under the poverty line in Iran, the IKRC has spread its wings beyond the country.

Last June, the Iranian Embassy in Tajikistan was forced by Emomali Rahmon’s administration to shut down its economic and cultural offices in northern parts of the country. The move came after Tajik authorities ordered the directors of Iranian government organizations in Khujand, the second-largest city in Tajikistan, to suspend activities in the north without explaining the reason behind the latest government crackdown on Iranian activities in the country, the BBC reported.

Over the past two years, several Iranian government organizations and charities have also been forced to suspend activities in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, including the IKRC, the Cultural Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a hospital jointly run by the Tajik government and the Red Crescent Society of Iran.

Analysts in Central Asia maintain that the IKRC is another Iranian state-run organization disguised as a charity devoted to advancing Tehran’s geopolitical and ideological ends in the broader region.

Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “The IKRC in Lebanon is a Hizballah social service organization that was created by the Government of Iran in the 1980s and is directed and run by Hizballah members or cadre. Iran has provided millions of dollars to the Hizballah-run branch in Lebanon since 2007. The IKRC has helped fund and operate Hizballah youth training camps, which have been used to recruit future Hizballah members and operatives. Hizballah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has acknowledged the IKRC branch in Lebanon as one of Hizballah's openly functioning institutions linked to and funded by Iran.”

The IKRC, mainly financed by the government, receives government assistance but never presents a balance sheet.

It claims to provide “support” to foreign countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya, Comoros, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria.