A high-ranking Iranian official has admitted that “corruption” was the underlying reason for the collapse of a high-rise building that led to days of protests, as more details revealed the involvement of IRGC officials in the construction of the building.

Earlier, Iranian media and social media activists had pointed out that the owner of Metropol maintained illicit links to individuals, as high-ranking as Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council of National Security. They accused the bigwig of helping the owner Hossein Abdolbaghi by using his influence through local officials including his nephew Mo’ud Shamkhani.

Mr. Shamkhani, an IRGC official, categorically denied using his influence, but subsequently, other reports mentioned further details about the link including family bonds between the Shamkhanis and Abdolbaghis, which could not be denied.

Raja News website which speaks for the ultraconservative Paydari party quoted the governor-general of Khuzestan Province Sadegh Khalilian as saying that the Metropol Towers were built during Iran’s previous government, adding that “the building was erected on the foundations of corruption and unhealthy relations.”

Unlike most of Iran’s local governors who are high-ranking IRGC officials, Khalilian was previously an academic at the University of Ahvaz and the Teachers Training University in Tehran although he had started his career as a petty officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Khalilian said that the local authorities at the time were aware of the building’s instability in with at least two series of reports given to them by the engineering supervisory body in 2017 and 2019, but they simply ignored it because of those “unhealthy relations”, which means bribery in the Iranian administrative jargon.

Khalilian had earlier said that 13 local officials including the city’s last three mayors are under arrest. Earlier this week, the former governor-general of Khuzestan Gholamreza Shariati who has been implicated in corruption cases, left Iran for the United Arab Emirates and reports about his “escape” were published on social media. Later, the Iranian Judiciary said that he was not implicated in the case.

Source » iranbriefing