The US State Department on Sunday criticized the rampant corruption in Iran saying the Iranian government was “full of corrupt hypocrites.”
“Today is #AntiCorruptionDay. Sadly, for the Iranian people, their government is full of corrupt hypocrites. Take Ayatollah Khamenei, who has a tax-free hedge fund worth billions. This so-called holy man devours property from religious minorities, then funnels the cash to IRGC,” the US State Department said on Twitter marking International Anti-Corruption Day which fell on Sunday.
Detailed reports had previously revealed the amounts of money which Iran spends on militias in a number of Arab countries. Iran spends around $150 million a year on militias that support it in Iraq and around $700 million on Hezbollah.
Iran has for weeks witnessed laborers’ protests in several areas particularly in Ahwaz as people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the difficult economic policies and livelihood conditions.
The US State Department also gave examples of Iranian regime officials who become billionaires thanks to corruption and theft of public money.
“This #AntiCorruptionDay Iranians have much to despair about. Their government is full of corrupt hypocrites. Meet Sadegh Mahsouli—The Billionaire General. Somehow he had a knack for winning lucrative construction and oil contracts from IRGC businesses. He is now worth billions,” the US State Department tweeted, adding that Grand Ayatollah Makaram Shirazi, “The Sultan of Sugar” was another example of corrupt hypocrites as he “made millions flooding the market with expensive imported sugar, putting Iranian people out of work.”
But who is Sadegh Mahsouli whose name became an example of extreme wealth via corruption and theft in Iran?
Mahsouli is a former IRGC officer and a minister during the former presidential term of Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. He went from being a poor officer at the end of the Iranian-Iraqi war in 1988 to becoming one of the wealthiest men in the country as Ahmadinejad became president in 2005.
He made a fortune after winning several oil trade contracts from companies linked to the IRGC as he and Ahmedinejad were old friends since college.
The US has imposed sanctions on him since 2010 over his role in oppressing students’ protests against the victory of Ahmedinejad in the disputed elections in 2009.
In July 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned Sadegh Mahsouli’s name while listing Iranian regime officials whom he described as akin to the mafia.
“The level of corruption and wealth among regime leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government,” Pompeo said in California to an Iranian-American audience.
“The 40 years of fruit from the revolution has been bitter. Forty years of kleptocracy. Forty years of the people’s wealth squandered on supporting terrorism,” he added.