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‘Astronomical Corruption’ in Tehran City Hall

Iranian politician and member of Tehran's City Council, Morteza Alviri, undated.

The volume of “corruption and law violation” in Tehran’s municipality is so high that other financial frauds look like small change in people’s pockets, says veteran politician and city councilor Morteza Alviri.

“Corruption in Tehran’s municipality is so deeply rooted that it has become institutionalized,” Alviri said August 14.

In an interview with Students News Agency (ISNA), Alviri, formerly a mayor of Tehran (1999-2002), said the scandalous case of “astronomical estates” was the “tip of an iceberg rising from an ocean.”

Alviri was referring to a scandal in Tehran municipality in which estates worth billions of dollars were generously distributed among city councilors and City Hall staff.

“Corruption in holding bids and offers, employing an inefficient work force at management levels as well as employing retired and disabled people are examples of deeply rooted fraud in Tehran municipality,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alviri also criticized outgoing Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf for not being transparent.

“The amount of the municipality’s debt given by the mayor does not correspond with the figures given by his own deputies,” he said. “Nobody precisely knows how deep Tehran’s municipality is in debt and how much money it makes or spends.”

“The expenses in Tehran City Hall have gone so high that it will be the greatest challenge facing incoming Mayor Mohmmad Ali Najafi,” he continued.

Najafi, an MIT-educated politician who held cabinet portfolios in the 1990s and in 2014, will take the helm of Tehran’s City Hall in September.

Qalibaf, an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ commander and former chief of police, challenged Hassan Rouhani in May’s presidential election but dropped out midway in favor of another conservative challenger to the incumbent. Although he has widely been accused of corruption, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed him as a member of the Expediency Council on August 14.