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IRGC Linked Corruption Cases At Tehran Municipality

Modern Tehran aerial view shows the extent of large building projects.
Modern Tehran aerial view shows the extent of large building projects.

The Tehran City Council chairman has disclosed a mind-blowing 26,000 complaints against the city over the past two years for legal violations, mostly related to illegal construction activity and financial corruption.

Speaking to state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) July 9, Chairman Mohsen Hashemi said the complaints were filed for a “myriad of violations” to the Article Commission of 100, an institution established in the early 70s to investigate and adjudicate complaints against municipalities.

The commission has increasingly found violations of laws regarding construction in municipalities across Iran over the past four decades, especially in Tehran. There is a backlog of cases, however, and many of those who have broken the law have yet to be issued a fine.

“By resolving just 20 percent of the major cases before the Article Commission of 100, Tehran would have access to significant financial resources and the instances of violations will drop as well,” said Hashemi.

Pictured here is a view of Tehran, Iran, July 1971. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)
Pictured here is a view of Tehran, Iran, July 1971. (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

Hashemi has said previously that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Cooperatives Fund owes trillions of rials (tens of millions of dollars) to the municipality. Many allege corruption at City Hall has allowed the IRGC to evade punishment and fines for its illegal construction activity.

“The Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered the country’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, IRGC Major General Hossein Baqeri, to oversee the legal procedings against Yas Holding, one of the municipality’s contractors,” Hashemi said at the time.

“Five suspects, including Qalibaf’s deputy, Eissa Sharifi have been detained, so far,” Hashemi maintained, adding, “Several companies connected with IRGC’s Cooperative Fund owe huge sums of money to the municipality,” Hashemi noted, elaborating, “Yas Holding, for example, owes nearly 45 trillion rials (roughly $ 11 billion) to the municipality, but denies the accuracy of that figure.”

It is not yet clear whether the five suspects are the same ones MP from Tehran and Deputy Parliament Speaker referred to in comments last year.

“Several top IRGC commanders have been detained and charged with financial corruption,” Ali Motahari told French daily Le Monde, last October.

The so-called reformist and moderate allies of President Hassan Rouhani have repeatedly accused the IRGC of having a destructive role in Iran’s economy by dominating different industries.

Describing IRGC as a “government armed with a gun,” June 17, 2017, President Hassan Rouhani said the IRGC had been given “total control” over Iran’s economy. Tehran’s municipality and City Council were dominated by the so-called conservatives and close allies of Ayatollah Khamenei, including IRGC commanders, for more than twelve years.

However, when pro-reformists took over the council and appointed one of their allies as mayor last August, widespread financial corruption was revealed at City Hall, enraging conservatives.

“More than five billion dollars of Tehran’s municipal funds went missing during [IRGC brigadier General and former Commander of Police] Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s tenure as Mayor of Iran’s capital city,” said City Council Member Majid Farahani January 15.