Iran’s ranking in Transparency International’s annual corruption report has dropped from 130 to 138 among 180 countries surveyed.
The Corruption Perceptions Report of 2018 paints a grim picture overall as more than two-thirds of countries rank below 50 on a scale of 0-100. Little improvement is seen compared to the previous year as only a handful of countries have done better in the past few years.
Transparency is a non-governmental anti-corruption organization. It rated a total of 180 countries on how corrupt their governments and public services appear to be. The ratings are based on findings by experts and public opinion studies.
Its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rank countries, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
While Iran’s score in 2017 was 30, in 2018 it dropped to 28. Iran’s score was slightly improving from 2016, when it climbed from 27 to 29 and then 30 in 2017, but this year it declined again.
Transparency says that failure of most countries to control corruption “is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.”
“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International. “Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption.”
Denmark and New Zealand are at the top of the Index with 88 and 87 points, respectively. Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria are at the bottom of the index, with 10, 13 and 13 points, respectively.
The highest scoring region is Western Europe and the European Union, with an average score of 66, while the lowest scoring regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 35).
Based on the data in the survey, Transparency says that there is a link between corruption and the health of democracies.
“Full democracies score an average of 75 on the CPI; flawed democracies score an average of 49; hybrid regimes – which show elements of autocratic tendencies – score 35; autocratic regimes perform worst, with an average score of just 30 on the CPI.”
The United States has also dropped significantly in its ranking and now is not among the top twenty countries. Transparency International says, “The low score comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balances as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power.”