Iran: The Case of ‘Yas Holding’ Highlights the Regime’s Systemic Corruption
In 2018, a 50-minute audiotape of a conversation between two top commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was released, revealing the regime’s huge entrenched corruption. Officials from the regime originally attempted to conceal or cast doubt on the audio file’s validity, calling it phony and contrived. However, the IRGC was eventually forced to authenticate the legitimacy of the information. On February 14, the regime’s mouthpiece, Kayhan daily, declared that the file demonstrated “the level of responsibility and accountability of Revolutionary Guards’ officers.”
In the video, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the IRGC’s then-commander, is heard speaking with Brigadier General Sadeq Zolqadrnia, the organization’s financial chief. They talked about a 2017 corruption case involving the ‘Yas’ holding corporation. Yas Holding was one of the IRGC’s front firms, with dozens of subsidiaries, however, it was shut down in 2017 when dozens of corruption charges were revealed.
Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the former mayor of Tehran and current Speaker of Parliament, IRGC Coordination Deputy Jamaloddin Aberoumand, and Chief of the IRGC Intelligence Organization Hossein Taeb, as well as IRGC-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, are accused by Zolqadrnia of covering up embezzlements worth up to 80,000 billion rials. Based on the free market rate at the time, the amount is about comparable to $3 billion. The IRGC’s Cooperative Foundation owned Yas Holding, a significant entity that controls many aspects of the country’s financial resources.
Ghalibaf recommended creating a false contract worth 80,000 billion rials, according to Zolqadrnia. “I told him [Ghalibaf] that this would be a crime,” he continued. I will not sign it because it will affect me and Jafari.”
Soleimani and Ghalibaf were “very upset” by Zolqadrnia’s behavior, Jafari tells Zolqadrnia. While this audio recording contains crucial disclosures, it is also necessary to illuminate some dark aspects of the governing theocracy’s widespread corruption.
Ali Khamenei was in charge of overseeing this major corruption case. Khamenei rushed to the site days after the audiotape was revealed to protect his corrupt IRGC commanders. “The enemy spends billions of dollars on slander and lies against the Islamic Republic through its think institutes. They insult the parliament one day, the Guardian Council the next, and now it’s the IRGC and martyr Soleimani’s turn,” he remarked on February 17.
The data outlined above and the recently disclosed audio tape are merely the tips of the iceberg when it comes to corruption in Iran’s ruling theocracy and its key oppressive apparatus, the IRGC.
The IRGC’s front firms include Yas Holding and its dozens of subsidiaries. These companies, like Yas, operate under the “private sector” banner and assist in the financing of terrorist operations. The IRGC is just one element of the Supreme Leader’s financial network. The conjecture that over half of Iran’s GDP is controlled by institutions controlled by the Supreme Leader is undeniably credible.
These abuses have occurred as a result of the use of force to deprive society of its resources. Regime leaders squander national resources while the populace lives in abysmal poverty. Doing business with these regime-run enterprises will not improve Iranians’ lives; rather, it will exacerbate their anguish, poverty, and overall misery.