All of the biggest protest movements in Iran over the past few years have started because of economic issues. Think of the December 2017 protest in Mashhad over the rising cost of living or the November 2019 protests over the tripling of fuel costs, both of which turned into unprecedented nationwide uprisings.
These highlighted public frustration with rising poverty, unemployment, and other social ills. After all, some 80% of the country lives below the poverty line and the protests showed that the people blamed the mullahs’ corruption for this, not Western sanctions.
One recent example of this corruption is the Foundation of the Oppressed, which is supposedly a charitable foundation and is one of four institutions that control 60% of Iran’s wealth.
Its head, Parviz Fattah, said Sunday that the wealth controlled by the foundation was subject to “systematic theft” by officials, which is also true of the other three institutions, and identified several specific instances of funds being embezzled or misappropriated.
This was not revealed because of a pressing need to right wrongs, but rather as an attack on the political opponents doing the embezzlement, which is a common tactic of the regime. All it proves is that corruption is essential to the regime.
The state-run Jahan-e Sanat newspaper was recently after acknowledging that the Foundation of the Oppressed employees were treating its holdings like their bank accounts; withdrawing money stolen from the people of Iran.
And all Iranian institutions have gotten their wealth in this way. In 2013, Reuters reported that the 95 billion dollars controlled by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was gained through the confiscation of the Iranian people’s property for no reason, with marginalized groups targeted most.
This means that Iran’s severe economic problems can never be dealt with while the regime is in power. How could they be trusted? So the only answer is for the Iranian people to rise up in another protest – as they will soon – and overthrow the regime.
After all, in the uprisings that began over economic matters, they quickly shifted to addressing the need for regime change, highlighting that there is no difference between hard-line and reformist politicians and chanting “death to the dictators”.
These latest revelations about corruption at the heart of the regime only prove that the Iranian people were right in their protests and must be supported in their next uprising. The world cannot allow the mullahs to crush another protest.