The former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing sentencing after a parliamentary court found him guilty of misusing billions of dollars in government funds. In an interview with the Etemadd newspaper, Fayaz Shojaie, public prosecutor at Iran’s Supreme Audit Court, assessed that the funds could not be recovered and that Ahmadinejad did not have the resources to pay back the cash.
Ironically, this prosecution is proceeding after Ahmadinejad defied Khamenei and registered to run in the latest presidential election earlier this spring. Khamenei had hinted that Ahmadinejad had been advised not to run.
“In the effort of fixing the damages the decision has been issued and finalized. But the damages and harm from his decisions are so big that we don’t have a way to carry it out,” said Shojaie. “So what can we do? He in no way has the assets that would cover this amount.”
Despite evidence of corruption being rampant throughout the regime, the picking of various members to be prosecuted seems geared to send a message that going against Khamenei can have severe consequences.
How the billions that Ahmadinejad were misused was not revealed. Reuters said in its report that it was not known if the former president was tried by the court and will now be sentenced or if it is the responsibility of the Iranian Parliament to take action. The timing of the court’s verdict was also not revealed. The audit court is under the supervision of the Iranian Parliament.
Ahmadinejad was a hardliner who oversaw the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program and resisted talks with Western powers to lift sanctions that punished the Iranian economy. Despite this, he tried to gained support among the poor and working class Iranians by promising to share more of the country’s oil wealth with them. Subsidy reforms implemented during his second term were aimed to give subsidies to the neediest, but still cutting the costs to the government.
It was noted that Shojaie did not indicate what would happen if the money could not be recovered. Ahmadinejad commented on his website and promised he will expose the corrupt ruling body of the regime. Others noted that his clash with Khamenei earlier this year angered other hardliners, which might have put him into their crosshairs.
In many ways, this is another example of the regime attempted to deal with internal divisions by clamping down on those who appear to publicly defy the Supreme Leader.