Iran: Judicial Investigator Publically Accuses Ayatollahs of Corruption

Abbas PalizarA member of Iran's Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, Abbas Palizdar, created a scandal this month by accusing several top clerics and influential members of the Islamic Republic of corruption in a speech a Booali University in Hamadan.

He offered details of many illegal business deals and criminal offences, and accused several of Iran's leading political figures, including influential Ayatollahs, such as former president and chairman of the Assembly of Experts, Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Interim Friday Prayer Leader of Tehran, Emami Kashani, and the head of the Imam Reza Shrine Foundation, Ayatollah Vaez Tabbasi, of illegally accumulating hundreds of millions of dollars.

Several Iranian bloggers published parts of his speech and shared their opinions on this exceptional event in the Islamic Republic. After the controversial speech, the university's Islamic Society of Students was allegedly shut down.

The Mano Shoma blog recounts [fa] that Abbas Palizdar named several “corrupt influential personalities” in Hamadan:

Ayatollah Emami Kashani came and said he wants to register an institution for handicapped people because he has a handicapped child, and he wants his own child be in this institution. Then he came back and said he needs financial support for this institute, and he wants a stone mine in the Fars province. It is the best mine in the world. Then he came and said that mine is not enough, and he took another one in Zanjan. At present he has four different mines supporting his institute for disabled people.

There were many more examples. Palizar described how Ayatollah Yazdi, the former head of the Judiciary was allowed to purchase the Dena Tyre factory in order to support a new law faculty for women in Qom. The factory was valued at 600 million dollars, but he was allowed to acquire it for only 10 million dollars. The cleric then said he could only pay 20 per cent in cash, and proceeded to sell the factory on the Iranian stock market at a massive profit.

Azarmehr links to a video of Abbas Palizdar delivering the speech on the Internet Archive and translates the key points to English:

During the question time, Palizdar is asked why he has not talked about the corruption by the Rafsnjani clan, is it because he fears the power of Rafsanjanis? Palizar replies that there is so much abuse of power by Rafsnajanis that he would need an entire meeting dedicated to this subject…

According to Palizdar, Ayatollah Rafsanjani has major financial interests in an oil company in Canada, and also the touristic island, Kish. He also said there is video evidence of Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi, sexually exploiting his female employees.

Dilemma of the Islamic Republic

Abdollah Shabazi an Islamist historian says [fa] that “owners of the revolution”, according to the definition of the Islamic Republic leadership, face a dilemma between either:

… the status quo, continuing the present situation and making Iran a second Pakistan, or renewing the Islamic Republic. There is no third option. The choice is either to accept institutionalised corruption, or fight against it to realise the goals of late Ayathollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution.

Why now?

Mahameh Khobim wonders [fa] about the timing of such a surprising revelation. Why? And why now? The blogger speculates that a group of the conservative right must be targeted to be disappeared.

Hassan Agha draws parallels [fa] between what is going on in Iran now and at the end of the Shah's regime: inflation, unemployment and these kinds of political revelations.


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