The rapid spread of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran and the severe shortage of drugs and medical equipment has put Iran’s Ministry of Health in the spotlight. In response, Iran’s President Rouhani blamed the shortage of medicine on US sanctions.
But the US has stressed that medicine has never been and will never be sanctioned. The US Department of State has also accused the regime of institutionalized corruption, citing statements by regime officials on the disappearance of one billion euros that was designated for medical supplies.
In August 2019, state media reported that one billion and three hundred million euros allocated for medical supplies had disappeared. This happened during the tenure of former Health Minister Ghazizadeh.
Ghazizadeh resigned in December 2018 after the parliament called for his impeachment accusing him of several issues including corruption.
In mid-November 2019, current Minister of Health Saied Namaki shed light on the embezzlement.
“It’s not clear who took the 1.3 billion euros allocated for medical equipment, what was brought in with it, and who it was given to,” he tweeted.
The Health Ministry’s Food and Drug Administration, responsible for the disappearance of the 1.3 million euros, is the focal point of corruption in the Ministry.
The IFDA’s duties within the Ministry of Health mainly include the procurement of medicine, powdered milk and medical supplies and equipment. The fact that the billions of dollars allocated to the IFDA are not subject to US sanctions makes the organization very lucrative for Iran’s medicine mafia.
The men behind Iran’s medicine mafia
Namaki took charge of the Ministry of Health in early February last year, and three days later appointed Mehdi Pir Salehi as the head of the lucrative IFDA.
Pir Salehi is also a member of the board of directors of Alborz Daroo, a pharmaceutical company affiliated with Barekat Holding, one of the subsidiary holdings of the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order known also as the “Setad”. The Setad is owned exclusively by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
A look at the members of the board of directors of the Barekat pharmaceutical group, shows the institutionalized corruption more clearly.
Hamid Reza Jamshidi, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Barekat was appointed as an advisor to the Minister of Health in May 2019, and 10 months later, with the Coronavirus outbreak, he was appointed Secretary of the Coronavirus National Management Headquarters.
In other words, the drug purchasing consultant of the Ministry of Health is the head of the pharmaceutical group affiliated with Khamenei.
Nasrollah Fathian, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Barakat Pharmaceutical Group, Managing Director of Barakat Pharmaceutical Industrial Park and Brigadier General of the Revolutionary Guards, is also an advisor to the Minister of Health and coordinator of the Coronavirus National Management Headquarters.
Dr. Akbar Barandegi, the CEO of the Barekat Pharmaceutical Group is also the Director General of Medication and Drug Supervision of the Ministry of Health’s Food and Drug Administration.
This makes it difficult to discern between the Ministry of Health and the Barekat Pharmaceutical Group, which is linked to the multi-billion-dollar corporations owned by none other than Khamenei.
The Supreme Leader’s Wealth
Several reports have been published in the past few years on the wealth of the Supreme Leader and the institutions and organizations run by his office. One of the most comprehensive of which was a 2013 investigative report by Reuters titled “Assets of the Ayatollah” which put his wealth at over 95 billion dollars.
More recently, the US embassy in Baghdad revealed that Khamenei’s assets totaled $200 billion.
The bulk of the wealth under the control of the Islamic Republic’s leader comes from the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order.
The Reuters investigation found that the organization built “its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians”, also seizing property from members of religious minorities, political dissidents and Iranians living abroad; at times falsely claiming that the properties were abandoned.
Its holdings include large amounts of real estate and 37 companies, covering nearly every sector of the Iranian industry, including finance, oil, and telecommunications. It’s also active in banking, production of contraceptives, and even ostrich farming.
The corruption in the rich middle eastern country stems from the very top of the regime, allowing Iran’s Supreme Leader control over four-fifths of the country’s wealth.
Source » irannewswire