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Khamenei Appointee Lashes Out At Powerful Insiders, Military For Not Returning Properties

Parviz Fattah, appointed by Ali Khamenei, leads one of the richest foundations in Iran. FILE PHOTO
Parviz Fattah, appointed by Ali Khamenei, leads one of the richest foundations in Iran. FILE PHOTO

Parviz Fattah, the head of Iran’s Mostazafan Foundation, a multi-billion financial conglomerate operating under the aegis of Ali Khamenei, says that one of the Supreme Leader's confidants and close relatives has refused to return assets that belong to the foundation.

Fattah added that some military organizations including the IRGC have also refused to vacate properties belonging to Mostazafan Foundation.

During the past four decades, the Mostazafan Foundation, or the foundation for the oppressed, confiscated many homes, mansions, factories, firms, lands and financial institutions that belonged to the people. Its mission is to help the needy, but like many other Islamic Republic entities it has become a major player in business. To what extent it in fact helps the poor is questionable. Some might say that the foundation is Mr. Khamenei’s wealth-management outfit.

Most of the real estate at the disposal of Mostazafan Foundation which are currently being used by high-level officials of the Islamic republic belonged to private individuals and firms, but the foundation has forcefully confiscated them based on orders by revolutionary courts, which often ruled against defendants deemed opponents of the regime.

Speaking in an interview on the state-owned television August 8, Fattah said Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, who is the father-in-law of Khamenei's influential son, Mojtaba, has not returned an 8,000 square meter land in Tehran that belonged to Mostazafan Foundation. Haddad-Adel is also a senior adviser to Khamenei.

According to Fattah, the land was worth 4 tillion rials. It is hard to calculate the doller value of the property, since we do not know when the property was put under Haddad-Adlel’s control. But if we use the current official rate of 42,000 rials for each dollar, the property is valued at more than $95 million.

Fattah said Haddad-Adel, who owns a series of wealthy schools in Tehran and Qom wanted to build a school on the land, but he did not have the authorization for that.

One question is why the head of the foundation is disclosing such a sensitive matter now, more than a year after being after being appointed as the head of the organization.

Fattah is one of the most talked about candidates for the presidential election in 2021. His attack on powerful officials and entities could be an attempt to present himself as a justice seeking, anti-corruption and anti-nepotism candidate. It is not unlikely that he might even have Khamenei's permission for such a move.

Elsewhere in the interview, Fattah said that Haddad-Adel has also refused to return the land on which his current Farhang School is built. He said the land worth 2 trillion rials, belongs to the Mostazafan Foundation that has rented it out to Haddad Adel.

According to Fattah, the rental being paid by Haddad Adel for the land is far less than the current market rate in Tehran.

"The foundation wants to adjust the rent and the land should be returned to it but this has not been done despite all efforts," said Fattah.

Speaking about other individuals and organizations using foundation assets without paying for them, Fattah named the IRGC, the Iranian Parliament (Majles), the naval force of the Iranian army, and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Fattah said Ahmadinejad's office is based in a 1,800 square meter property in Velenjak in one of the most affluent parts of Tehran. The property is worth around 2 trillion rials or just under $50 million, he said.

The 12-storey building of the Majles Research Center in Niavaran, another one of the most expensive areas of Tehran, also belongs to the Mostazafan Foundation which has called on the Majles to vacate it with no avail, said Fattah.

Also in Kouhak areas in Tehran, the naval force of the army is currently using the foundation’s land while Vali Amr Corps of the IRGC that is responsible for the security of Islamic Republic officials has occupied a 2 trillion rial land. According to Fattah, the IRGC has prevented the Mostazafan Foundation's access to the property and has refused to return it to the foundation.

Fattah said that these properties need to be returned to Mostazafan Foundation so that it can sell them and use the money for charitable purposes.

He said in the interview that the foundation has sold 360 trillion rials worth of real estate in 2019 out of which 70 trillion rials has been the foundation's profit.

Fattah added that the Khamenei-supervised foundation has plans to enter oil projects as part of its efforts to expand its economic activities.

The Mostazafan Foundation has been often criticized by regime insiders including the Rouhani administration as well as critics such as former President Ahmadinejad for tax evasion and non-transparent financial transactions. Other critics have also pointed out that there are no checks and balances in Mostazafan Foundation and other financial institutions that operate under Khamenei's supervision.