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Tehran City Council Sued For Granting Project To IRGC

IRAN -- Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf greets members of the parliament after being elected as parliament speaker at the Iranian parliament in Tehran, May 28, 2020
IRAN -- Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf greets members of the parliament after being elected as parliament speaker at the Iranian parliament in Tehran, May 28, 2020

The chairman of the Islamic City Council of Tehran, Mohsen Hashemi, has shared that the bid to build the city's line 7 metro was granted to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked Khatam-al Anbiya Construction Headquarters (KCH) under pressure from Tehran’s former mayor.

IRGC Brigadier-General Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who served as mayor of Tehran for twelve years, is currently the speaker of the Iranian Maijes parliament.

"Qalibaf insisted, we relented and handed over the project to the KH. Now the General Inspection Organization (GIO) has filed a lawsuit against Tehran City Council for granting a project to the IRGC," Hashemi said.

In a tweet last Wednesday, Hashemi added, "Should such a situation persist, we could no longer assign the IRGC's KCH to construct subway lines."

In a ceremony inaugurating Line 10 and developing line 7 of Tehran's underground, Hashemi told the Commander of KCH, Saeed Mohammad, "We gave you Line 7, but now we are facing trial because someday we gave it to you under stress. Consequently, the GIO has sued us. The case against us is still under investigation at the GIO's Branch 13. They have repeatedly accused us of assigning KCH to construct Line 7 of Tehran's metro. For our part, we have also repeatedly reminded you that KCH should look into the case. Still, no progress has been made, and we are in trouble."

However, Hashemi stopped short of elaborating on the reasons behind GIO's accusation.

Nevertheless, during the inauguration of Phase 1 of Line 7 of Tehran's Metro in 2017, several city council members warned that the project was unsafe. They insisted that despite their warnings about safety issues, the project had been greenlit anyway.

Rahmatullah Hafezi, the head of the City Council's Health, Environment, and Urban Services Commission, was aware at the time of letters written by the metro and municipality directors discussing the unsafe aspects of Tehran's underground lines.

However, Line 7 was still inaugurated on Jun 10, 2017. Two days earlier, Hafezi reminded the Deputy Director of Trucking, Operation and Railway transportation, Mohammad Ahmadi Bafandeh, in writing, "Passenger entering Line 7 faces many risks. The slightest unusual event will lead to a crisis and makes helping passengers impossible."

The head of Tehran City Council's Transportation Commission, Mohammad Alikhani, also announced last year that the General Inspection Organization was involved with the safety of lines 6 and 7 of the Tehran metro.

Daily Hamshahri also reported that Tehran City Council's experts believed that since Line 7's air conditioning middle shafts were faulty, no one could claim that passengers' safety was ensured.

Nonetheless, the Tehran Metro Company's experts stated that "all the problems that were emphasized in the initial report about the insecurity of this line have been resolved."

Khatam-al-Anbia Construction Headquarters (KCH), known as the largest contractor in Iran, is a gigantic development and economic complex with 20,000 direct and 150,000 indirect employees.

KCH, with its 5,000 subcontractors, has not only monopolized the country's most important construction projects, but it is also one of Iran's eight largest oil contractors.

The annual budget of the KCH is not known, though the company is one of the tax-exempt institutions of Iran.

Officials at KCH say that they are currently responsible for 285 projects throughout Iran, and the government owes it more than four hundred trillion rials (about $9.5 billion.