Intelligence ReportsExclusive ReportsThe sleaze factor in Ahmadinejad’s private budget

The sleaze factor in Ahmadinejad’s private budget

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Iran Focus: Tehran, May 16 – It is an open secret that huge sums of money go missing from the Iranian budget each year, much of it lining the pockets of senior officials and top institutes that back hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  However, enormous funding has also officially been allocated in the budget to Ahmadinejad’s personal office. The official budget has allocated funds for the following entities and individuals:

Iran Focus

Tehran, May 16 – It is an open secret that huge sums of money go missing from the Iranian budget each year, much of it lining the pockets of senior officials and top institutes that back hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  However, enormous funding has also officially been allocated in the budget to Ahmadinejad’s personal office. Although such allocation and issues around the “missing money” have openly been acknowledged, Ahmadinejad still harbours no reservations about claiming that his is a “just” and “honest” government. Many are asking if this is an honest government, what would a sleazy one look like?

The official budget has allocated funds for the following entities and individuals:

  1. A sum of 6.43 trillion Rials (USD $646 million) is allocated to the Presidency.
  2. 480 billion Rials (USD $48.2 million) is allocated to the Office of the President run by Rahim Mashaei whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad’s son.
  3. 12 billion Rials (USD $1.2 million) is allocated to the Bright Future institute, which propagates the ideology of Mahdaviat and is also run by Mashaei.
  4. 670 billion Rials (USD $67.3 million) is allocated for covering the “vital costs” of the President. This is separate from the budget dedicated for Ahmadinejad’s visits to the various provinces.
  5. A total of 290 billion Rials (USD $29.1 million) is put aside for salaries of staff working in the Planning Directorate.
  6. 400 billion Rials (USD $40.2 million) is allocated to the National Youth Organisation. The NYO is primarily made up of Islamist radicals in the paramilitary Bassij Force and is run by Haji Ali Akbari, a former Friday prayer leader in Damavand, northern Tehran, and a supporter of Ahmadinejad. Its members are planted in virtually all government ministries and are believed to spy on civil servants to foil acts of dissent.
  7. 60 billion Rials (USD $6 million) is allocated to the Academy of Arts. The academy was until last year headed by former Prime Minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi, but following the June Presidential election in which Moussavi alleged fraud, he was sacked by Ahmadinejad and replaced with Ali Moallem Fard.
  8. 200 billion Rials (USD $20.1 million) is allocated to the Supreme Council of Iranians Living Abroad. The council is said to organise Iranians overseas to lobby for the regime.
  9. 26 billion Rials (USD $2.6 million) is allocated to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) which initially started off as independent but was taken over by the government when its officials were replaced.
  10. 60 billion Rials (USD $6 million) is allocated to the secretariat of the Supreme Council for Information. This budget is separate from that which is allocated to the state’s official news agencies and the official broadcaster.
  11. 60 billion Rials (USD $6 million) is allocated to the secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council, currently chaired by Saeed Jalili.
  12. 3.4 billion Rials (USD $341,000) is allocated to the Molana Cultural Foundation run by Abdolhamid Molana, an Iranian-American adviser to Ahmadinejad.
  13. 100 billion Rials (USD $10 million) is allocated to Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi (under his real name Mohammad Taqi Giveh-Chi) who heads the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute. The fees for the institute’s instructors and published material are provided for separately by other institutes. The Qom Educational Centre, which is controlled by the Office of the Supreme Leader, also pays the fees for some of this institute’s students to travel to the U.S., Canada and elsewhere for post graduate studies.
  14. Five billion Rials (USD $500,000) is allocated to the Islamic Revolution Documents Centre run by Ruhollah Hosseinian. The centre’s costs far outrun the figures included in the budget. The centre in some instances pays 100 million Rials (USD $10,000) to authors to publish their books.
  15. 100 billion Rials (USD $10 million) is allocated to Mohammad Yazdi, former Head of the Judiciary and a member of the constitutional watchdog, the Guardians Council.
  16. 150 billion Rials (USD $15.1 million) is allocated to cultural and religious associations and centres, though the recipients of the funds are not named in the budget and it seems that officials can pick and choose the recipients.

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