Iran feels heat as Riyadh opens up stadiums and fights against graft

People demonstrate in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran near the Iranian embassy in Paris, on January 6, 2018. (Reuters)

The operation of fighting corruption and implementing reforms in Saudi Arabia is no longer an internal affair. In fact, its echoes have gone further beyond the Kingdom’s borders to reach other countries. The actions taken in this regard have resulted in a positive response at both the official and popular levels in the world. This had led some Iranian media to try and distort the steps taken by Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, Iranian civil and popular societies were thrilled with Saudi Arabia’s actions, especially regarding women's rights.

As an example, during a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino last Friday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Iran would allow women to enter stadiums, as reported by some Iranian media. Nevertheless, Rouhani did not bother to fix a specific date for this initiative, which was confirmed later by Infantino.  

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with FIFA president Gianni Infantino last Friday. (Supplied)

It seems that the ongoing reforms and the fight against corruption in Saudi Arabia have rapidly created ripples in Iran. Indeed, several Iranians have called for fighting corruption, calling for restoring the reforms that were wrongfully buried and forgotten. This was reflected in a draft resolution entitled “Recovering the illegal funds of Officials” signed by 166 deputies out of 290 which was present in the Iranian Shoura Council for the first time in the history of the Iranian regime established four decades ago.

Saudi women sit in a stadium in Riyadh on September 23, 2017 commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the kingdom. (AFP)

Iranian media devoted considerable reporting time in this regard by interviewing officials along with Tasnim agency which interviewed Iranian citizens who spoke during the recent popular protests in Iran. 

Illegal funds    

In his interview yesterday with the Iranian Agency ‘Tasnim’, MP Mohammad Dehghan, member of the Judicial Committee of the Iranian Parliament, explained the details of this project confirming that it may include the presidents of the three authorities, ministers, heads of provinces and directors since the beginning of the revolution (1979) until today, stressing that the project will “discuss the illegal funds and return them to the Treasury.”

MP Mohammad Dehghan, member of the Judicial Committee of the Iranian Parliament. (Supplied)

He added that the ambit of fighting corruption includes “members in the parliament, judges and mayors, representatives of the supreme leader and leaders of the military forces”. This will be by forming a committee to be the reference for examining the documents that reveals the corruption.

While Dehghan asserts that the responsibility for investigating corruption and restoring money became the responsibility of the judiciary, according to the new regulation, contrary to Article 49 which makes it the responsibility of the executive authority. However, in order to avoid suspicious conflicts behind the new regulation, which might be against Hassan Rouhani, the head of the executive authority as part of fighting over power, Dehghan also confirmed that this regulation is not political.

The reform movement and anti-corruption efforts have failed repeatedly since former reformist President Mohammad Khatami won the May 1997 elections in Iran. The Supreme guide personally intervened to close corruption files against officials in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad government, who was then supported by the guide. These files were not opened until Ahmadinejad split from the hardliners and personally criticized the regime.

Last Update: Thursday, 8 March 2018 KSA 02:15 - GMT 23:15

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Iran feels heat as Riyadh opens up stadiums and fights against graft
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