With a precise glance at the function of state-backed charity institutions in Iran, everyone realizes that these institutions are merely a means for plundering the underprivileged. In other words, the government lines its pockets with poor people’s money when it can no longer find “legal” excuses.
Notably, these institutions are run by current or former officials, who have longstanding records in plundering and oppressive apparatuses and exploit their title to exempt taxes. Indeed, they have shaped a complicated mafia through their influence and power, untransparent plans, and recruiting low-cost human resources under the banner of charity.
Skyrocketing Growth in Charity Institutions
As a routine, Islamic Republic officials justify plundering methods via religious explanations. Then, state-aligned individuals begin their “invasion” to enjoy windfall opportunities at the expense of low-income classes.
In this respect, statistics show that charity institutions exploit the workforce covertly and take huge advantages. These institutions in actual perform such as a private company—of course with unlimited facilities and permissions.
They falsely claim that our business is to service impoverished people. Indeed, they shed crocodile tears for those whose poverty and misery directly result from these institutions’ plundering performance. Nevertheless, these charities are not the sole liars within the theocracy in Iran.
In June 2018, the Young Journalists Club affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) reported that these institutions are more than 8,200. “Currently, more than 8,200 charity institutions have received permissions and licenses from the country’s Social Welfare Organization Behzisti and are working,” said Mohammad Ali Kuzehgar, the public participation and empowerment deputy at the Behzisti.
This is while that the number of these “charity institutions” is on the rise due to uncountable privileges and tax exemptions. There is no genuine estimation of the number of active, semiactive, and inactive units in this respect. However, it has undeniably surpassed 10,000 during the past three years.
Charity Institutions Enjoy Tax Exemption
Undoubtedly, these institutions have not been exempted from taxes due to their services or charity, but they enjoy their influence and lobby within government officials the other way round.
“All of these charity institutions are exempted from taxes regardless of their function, balance sheet, the success rate in goals, activity era, and their method for charity,” reported the semiofficial ILNA news agency on December 25.
“This means that more than 10,000 institutions, mostly earn huge revenues through financial activities under the privilege of charity, pay no tax to the government.”
Charity Institutions’ Plundering Tricks and Powerful Lobbies
Furthermore, ILNA explains how these ‘charity institutions’ take advantage of plundering tricks and powerful lobbies. “For many years, these charity institutions attempt to demonize the labor law in public view. In particular, they describe the minimum wage as the main enemy of entrepreneurism and the boom production.”
In other words, the mafia of charity institutions reckons that the workers’ salaries should be set in an agreement with workers, which shapes the central part of their hostility with the labor law. Indeed, the mafia pursues this explanation to easily loot the salaries of low-income working families.
In this context, Hossein Habibi, a member of the managing board of the Supreme Labor Councils, shed light on these looting methods. “Some institutions, for instance, charity ones, sometimes recruit vulnerable workers and those who are exposed to risk and refuse to provide insurance services for them, profiting from religious beliefs,” he said.
“Using their powerful and constant lobbies in the Parliament [Majlis], they have forced representatives to sign the plan which refers the minimum wage in rural workplaces to agreements between employers and employees.”
Hungry Society, an Opportunity for Further Plundering
Hungry society endures any hardship to make ends meet, mainly when the ayatollahs promote poverty and misery instead of welfare and prosperity. In this respect, rural areas and slums are considered the best places for the government-backed mafia to profit.
“‘Target community’ for several profiteering institutions is mainly villages and slums, where are the geographic areas of vulnerable strata. The same strata, which these institutions have been made up to aid these people. However, not only do not these people benefit from the institutions but also these ‘charities are easily exploiting these people,’” Habibi explained.