The US Embassy in Baghdad estimates Iran’s Supreme Leader’s wealth at $200 billion.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page today, the US embassy in Iraq said that financial corruption was “rife in all parts of the Iranian Regime starting at the top”.
The US Embassy also said that forty years into the clerical regime, while many Iranians suffer from poverty and extreme economic conditions, Khamenei owns assets worth an estimated $200 billion.
In a 2013 Reuters investigative report titled, the “Assets of the Ayatollah”, the news agency estimated the Supreme Leader’s wealth at $95 billion.
According to the report, the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order Foundation known as the Setad, is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate owned exclusively by the Supreme Leader. The organization with commercial and real estate assets, also controls a charitable foundation.
The regime exempts a number of profitable religious institutions from taxes. These institutions are mostly controlled by Khamenei.
Some of these institutions are the Mostazafan Foundation, the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (known as the Setad), the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs (Bonyade Shahid), the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Komiteye Imdad), the Sazman-e Tablighat-e Eslami (Islamic Propagation Organization), the Office of Islamic Propagation of the Qom Seminary, the Bonyad Maskan of the Islamic Revolution (Housing Foundation), the Seminary Services Center, the Islamic Revolution Cultural Research Institute, and the Al-Mustafa International University in Qom.
In addition to encouraging institutionalized corruption with these tax exemptions, these institutions use public budgets for so-called religious activities even though the majority of Iranians don’t believe in the brand of Islam that the clerical rulers promote.
This is while according to reports, 80% of Iranians suffer from poverty while four percent hold all the wealth in Iran.
In remarks carried by the state-run Javan Online Website, an economist said that the wealth that only four percent of the population held equaled to that of the rest of the population.
“You can see how fast the four percent have made the rest of the population poor,” Ibrahim Zaraghi said.
Official numbers on the extent of poverty in Iran vary and are usually put at 35% but according to a member of the parliament, 80% of people now live under the line of poverty in Iran. This seems more precise as the crumbling economy and lack of will by Iranian officials to fix it drive more into poverty every day.
As an increasing number of Iranian companies and manufacturers go bankrupt or have slowed production as a result of inflation and corruption, a high number of workers go unpaid or are completely put aside.
Hedayatollah Khademi, a member of the parliament severely criticized the dire state of the economy and the people’s living conditions in July.
“You have made the Iranian people miserable. You have taken away their respect and confidence. They don’t know what to do due to poverty and desperation. They have turned to selling their organs including their kidneys due to poverty. Look what you have done to a country that makes up one percent of the global population but has eight percent of the world’s natural resources,” he had said last July.
The recent floods have only added to the problems with 500,000 internally displaced, according to European Commission.
Iranians are extremely angry and say that the regime has done nothing to ease their problems during and after the floods that ravaged almost all of Iran’s provinces.