Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi (pictured) has announced the arrest of “more than 10” anti-corruption officials on fraud charges.
“In the Government Discretionary Punishments Organisation (GDPO), some of our colleagues have been corrupted,” Pourmohammadi said on Sunday. “In line with the fight against corruption, more than 10 colleagues in GDPO, most of them managers and consultants, were arrested and interrogated.”
The arrests come amid Government attempts to deal with alleged fraud and mismanagement during the Presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from 2005 to 2013. President Rouhani said in late December he had ordered measures to counter “financial corruption…particularly those who have taken advantage of economic sanctions.”
Among those under arrest is Babak Zanjani, a billionaire who helped the Ahmadinejad Government trade oil and get around Western sanctions. He is accused of embezzlement through scores of companies linked to the Social Security Funds, headed by Ahmadinejad’s senior advisor Saeed Mortazavi.
Zanjani is also accused of owing $2 billion to the Oil Ministry.
Corruption scandals broke out before Ahmadinejad’s departure in August 2013. In September 2011, a bank embezzlement of $2.6 billion was announced, with dozens of defendants eventually being tried. Ahmadinejad’s 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi was accused of involvement in a major insurance fraud.
The President and his critics traded accusations of corruption, with Ahmadinejad even challenging the Revolutionary Guards at one point in 2011. In early 2013, the disputes reached the floor of Parliament, when Ahmadinejad accusing the Larijani family — including Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani — of involvement in shady financial deals.
Revolutionary Guards: “We Recognize No Boundary for Our Response to US Attack”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have put out their daily denunciation of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent statement that “military options are still on the table” if Iran does not adhere to November’s interim nuclear agreement.
Deputy Commander Hossein Salami said the Islamic Republic would “recognize no boundary for its response” if the US attacked:
The US (threat of using the) military option is of no concern to us. They can use this option but should take the responsibility for its destructive consequences too.
Salami continued, “Our political officials and diplomats… should defend our national interests strongly and confidently. We offer enormous potential for the foreign policy and the nuclear negotiating team is backed by our military might.”
Detained Opposition Leader Karroubi Transferred to His Home
The son of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, detained since February 2011, says the 2009 Presidential candidate has been transferred to his own home in northern Tehran.
Hossein Karroubi said his father, who was moved to a small apartment in October 2011, has been reunited with his wife Fatemeh.
Fatemeh Karroubi was initially held under strict house arrest with her husband, fellow 2009 Presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mousavi’s wife, the activist Zahra Rahnavard. She was freed several months later.
Mehdi Karroubi can also have regular visits from the rest of the family and can see State television.
Interestingly, State outlet Press TV, which has largely ignored the situation of Karroubi since his house arrest, posts the news this morning.