Iran's Supreme National Security Council has granted the country’s Revolutionary Guards more powers to expand and maintain its control of the economy, Al Arabiya TV reported, stating informed sources.
The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), headed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, issued a resolution stipulating the appointment of a representative of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, commonly known as the Revolutionary Guard, in the Board of Directors of Iran's Central Bank, reliable government sources told Al Arabiya.
According to the resolution, no decisions can be taken at the bank without the approval of the Revolutionary Guards representative. This specifically applies to loans that exceed one million dollars.
The second SNSC decision stipulates the appointment of a Revolutionary Guard member, as well as a representative of the Ministry of Intelligence, in the Association for Decision Reviewing and Organization, a monitoring body affiliated to the Telecommunication Company of Iran and located at the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology.
Oppostion leaders slam Revolutionary Guard
These decisions came in the aftermath of the tightening sanctions on Iran and despite warnings from financial experts and opposition leaders of the consequences of the Revolutionary Guard's hegemony in the country's political, financial, and security sectors.
The decisions also coincide with harsh criticism by leading reformist and presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi against Khatam al-Anbiya, the construction unit of the Revolutionary Guards, and its monopoly over the most substantial of business transactions in the industry and economy sectors.
According to media reports, Karroubi expressed concern over the latest developments in the country's economy.
"The private sector is no longer able to compete as the economy is monopolized by the Revolutionary Guard," he said. "This violates the plan for the year 2025 and which emphasizes the role of private institutions to achieve economic dynamism in the country."
Karroubi added that the government is currently placing several obstacles in the way of privatization by involving security forces in all the country's economic sectors.
"Privatization is now restricted to a handful from the military which defeats the main purpose of privatization and violates the constitution."
Karroubi pointed out that Article 43 of the Iranian constitution bans the concentration of wealth in the hand of the minority and prohibits the government from turning into a contractor that controls all economic transactions in the country.
"This leads to more corruption and increases unemployment rates as well as makes the Revolutionary Guard lose what it originally stood for."
The private sector is no longer able to compete as the economy is monopolized by the Revolutionary Guard
Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi
In the same vein, opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi sounded alarm bells over the involvement of the Revolutionary Guard in what he called "suspicious" business.
"Now the Revolutionary Guard is taking arms with the Basij against the people, arresting opposition figures and stifling freedom of expression, and imposing itself on the economy in an unbelievable way," Mousavi in a statement he issued after the last round of sanctions were imposed on Iran.
The Revolutionary Guard, he added, interferes in the price of the dollar, the transaction of local banks, the stock market, construction, and the import and export business.
"That way we can no longer count on the Revolutionary Guard to maintain the country's stability and protect the principles of the revolution since its members are occupied with safeguarding their own interests," he concluded.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)
That way we can no longer count on the Revolutionary Guard to maintain the country's stability and protect the principles of the revolution since its members are occupied with safeguarding their own interests
Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi