The spokesman for Iran’s Guardian Council (GC), Abbas Ali Khadkhodaei, has said that in some elections, money has the last word.
The 12-member GC, which is empowered to vet legislation and oversee elections, comprises jurists and lawyers and in many ways acts as an upper legislative body in the Iranian establishment.
Half of its members are clerical specialists in Islamic canon law who were directly appointed by the country's supreme leader. The other half are civil legal experts nominated by the Supreme Judicial Council and endorsed by the parliament. The GC is also responsible for reviewing all legislation passed by the parliament to determine its constitutionality.
Admitting that the dominant role of money in Iranian elections, Khadkhodaei lamented that there are no laws to curb the effect of money on the outcome of some elections.
Earlier, there had been several reports on the massive amounts of money spent in parliamentary and presidential elections. Reports have also circulated on the crucial role of "dirty money" in elections in Iran.
The role of "dirty money" in the outcome of elections was initially disclosed by Interior Minister Abdolreza RahmaniFazli. However, under a barrage of criticism from members of the parliament, Rahmani Fazli was forced to take back his comments.
Nonetheless, incumbent Hassan Rouhani during a live televised presidential debate in May 2017 revealed that one of his main challengers, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, had used "dirty money" in a previous election campaign in 2005.
Rouhani said he regretted that as Iran's security chief at the time he had prevented the case from becoming public or sent to the courts.
Rouhani's campaign manager had also implicated Qalibaf's son in financial corruption cases involving 12 trillion rials(approximately $3 billion at the time).
In 2016, Qalibaf's wife was the prime suspect in another corruption case documented by the Sharq newspaper.
Many of Qalibaf's managers at the Tehran municipality, including his deputy Isa Sharifi, have also been implicated in corruption cases involving trillions of rials.
In one of the most recent cases revealed by Tehran City Council member Morteza Alviri, it was said that the Iranian judiciary is investigating 12 corruption cases dating back to Qalibaf's term of office as Tehran's mayor. One of these cases, Alviri said, involves at least 200 trillion rials. Some of Qalibaf's managers are currently in jail on charges of financial crime.