Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Qods, corruption, plunder, kickbacks

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    Wednesday, May 09, 2007

    Qods, corruption, plunder, kickbacks

    The RGC in Business in a big way!
    Since 1979 the Pasdaran has undergone fundamental changes in operations, missions and function. Several indications point out that consequent to assuming most senior political, economic and cultural positions in Iran, the commanders of the Islamic Republic Guards Corps (IRGC) have launched an onslaught to take control/authority of the country's economic affairs.

    Case in point, corruption, was handing over three major construction contracts that were handed over to the IRGC. Two of these contracts were in oil and gas exploration, with a total value in excess of $7 billion. The Deputy Commander of "Khatam-al- Anbia Construction garrison" stated recently the number of projects that the IRGC has carried out without any formal biding process since the end of Iran-Iraq war in 1988 is 247.

    He said, "We have carried out 1220 nationwide, regional, public, industrial and mining projects and there are 247 projects currently under way." (State-controlled daily, Sharq, June 8, 2006) In addition to being involved in construction, the companies that are affiliated to the IRGC are extensively engaged in monetary ( banking ), movie production, chicken farm, honey bee farm, obtaining representative licenses from foreign firms and trade activities in releasing imported goods, mining, building stones and taking over public lands. Some is making big money.

    On several occasions, the IRGC has taken over huge pieces of land in posh areas of major cities, Tehran in particular and by resorting to force, threats of violence and murder, it has suppressed the other government agencies that had claims to these lands. Besides the IRGC, the the Para-military Basij force has entered the field of economics in an unprecedented manner. Subsequent to Ahmadinejad's becoming the president, General Rahim Safavi, the Commander in Chief of the IRGC, while talking about the future roles of the Basij said on July 29, 2005 that in addition to "confronting soft threats facing the country", the Basij would also "assist the government in its construction crusade ( payment for loyalty and violence )." ( State-controlled Fars news agency, July 29, 2005).

    New economic onslaught by the IRGC The new onslaught of the IRGC on Iran's economy is focused on carrying out strategic projects in the oil and gas fields. Out of the $7 billion contract handed by the Ahmadinejad government to IRGC without any bidding, one of the contracts that was not in the oil sector was constructing 27 Kilometers of Tehran's metro.

    This contract was handed to "Khatam-al- Anbia" garrison in April 2006. Two other projects pertained to huge projects in exploring gas reserves of the country and constructing 900 Kilometers of gas pipelines. These two contracts were about phase 15 and 16 of Pars-Jonobi (southern Pars) gas reserves.

    "The contracts for phase 15 and 16 of expansion of southern Pars gas field were signed in Asalouyeh on June 28. The Speaker of the Parliament, the Oil Minister and Deputy Commander of the Khatam-al-anbia garrison signed the agreement. The objectives of phases 15 and 16 of expansion of southern Pars gas fields were exploring 56 million and 600 thousand cubic meters of natural gas daily, 50 million cubic meters of refined natural gas daily, one million tons of Ethan and 50 thousand tons of liquid gas at each phase. The refining of gas in Asalouyeh would be carried out by Khatam-al-anbia garrison. The cost of this project is estimated to be around $2 billion and $97 million. By adding the cost for refining section of the contract, the total cost would be around $2.9 billion. Akbar Torkan, the Director of Pars Oil and Gas Company said: "Upon the orders of the President, the budget for the expansion of phases 15 and 16 of southern Pars fields will be provided from government reserves." (Fars news agency, March 5, 2006) Contract to install nationwide natural gas pipe-line This contract was signed on June 7, 2006 between the Khatam-al-anbia garrison of the IRGC and the Oil Ministry. Rahim Safavi, the Commander in Chief of the IRGC and the Oil Minister were present during the signing ceremony.

    According to this contract, the IRGC with a cost of $1.3 billion will transfer natural gas from Asalouyeh to Bandar-Abbas and from there to Sistan-Baluchestan. This pipeline that will end at Iranshahr at the current phase is about 900 Kilometers long. The ultimate objective is to export natural gas to Pakistan by this pipeline. Motive of the IRGC in this economic onslaught In comparison to other similar government institutions like Mostazafan (deprived) Foundation and Qods Razavi, the IRGC is the only institution in Ahmadinejad administration that has obtained the right of extensive activity in the oil and gas sector.
    Why have others been cut out of this profitabe project? Whom is making the profits?

    The type of economic engagement that the IRGC has engaged in shows that economic plunder is not the only motive. Rather, they want to implement their security and military considerations and views of the ruling faction on the country's economy and its most important sector, i.e., the oil and natural gas sector. In reference to scope of plundering that the commanders of IRGC enjoy as a result of their engagement in the economic affairs of the country, the case in point is when Ahmadinejad introduced Sadeq Mahsouli, a former commander of the IRGC as the candidate for Minister of Oil, it was revealed that Mahsouli had accumulated 50 billion Tomans ( $60 million) during his tenure in the IRGC. What was the kick back to tom?

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