During the last round of sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, US President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader as well as his Office.
Ali Khamenei has always seemingly espoused a simple way of life, shying away from luxury. Some of those close to him have recounted memories of his “simple way of life”. After the sanctions, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani came to his leader’s defense and claimed that Khamenei was a religious leader and owned nothing more than a simple house and a congregation hall.
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.
Most 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 known as the “Setad”.
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 Iranian industry, including finance, oil, and telecommunications. It’s also active in banking, production of contraceptives and even ostrich farming.
Another organization directly controlled by Khamenei is the Islamic Development Organization.
Ahmad Jannati was the first chief of the organization charged with promoting the ideology of the Islamic Republic. He was succeeded by Mahmoud Mohammadi Araghi for ten years, followed by Seyyed Mahdi Khamoushi and Mohammad Qomi, who was appointed by Khamenei as the head of the Islamic Development Organization in 2018.
The Islamic Development Organization is made up of 11 institutions and receives more funding than any other religious organization. Hassan Rouhani’s government proposed a budget of 430 billion tomans (around 100 million USD) for the organization in 2018.
The organization was founded as the “Institution of Islamic Development Council” in 1981 and worked as an independent and coherent body affiliated with the Velayat-e Faqih. It was then changed to its current state in 1989 under the orders of the founder of the regime, Ruhollah Khomeini.
Institutions such as the Prayer Headquarters, the Friday Imams Policymaking Council and the Arts Department work under the Islamic Development Organization.
The so-called Prayers Headquarters has duties such as promoting the culture of prayer, identifying the capacities of the community in relation to prayer, and overseeing systems that carry out prayers.
In 2018, this institution received a budget of around 23 billion tomans (around 5,462,534 USD).
The Arts Department
The Arts Department carries out tasks such as publishing content on the regime’s ideology and making “suitable” movies which are mostly shunned by the public.
It has also been known to ban “unsuitable” movies that have permits from Iran’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance.
With a budget of almost 72 billion tomans (around 17 million USD), The Arts Department receives the most budget among the institutions under the Islamic Development Organization.