Fars News Agency Photo
Abbas Palizdar, Secretary of Majlis Investigative Commission, who has leveled major allegations of corruption against Iran’s religious establishment, was arrested in Tehran today. Palizdar was charged with propagating lies and disturbing public opinion and was sent to prison [Fars News Agency, 11 June].
In a recent speech in Hamadan, Palizdar had outlined specific charges of corruption against the most senior ayatollahs, including Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s powerful former president and chairman of Expediency Council, Abbas Vaez Yazdi, head of a vast religious landholding and business empire in Mashhad and Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, head of National Trust party. Palizdar has also named some prominent non-clerics.
Palizdar claimed that national resources were plundered by these individuals, and factories sold off at bargain prices. He has leveled specific charges such as the import of thousands of Daewoo automobiles into Iran by Rafsanjani and his immediate family without paying the huge customs duties.
The people named by Palizdar are all considered political opponents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president. It was not known if Palizdar’s charges were politically motivated. Sources close to Ahmadinejad, however, have said the administration was in no way involved with Palizdar.
Palizdar’s sensational accusations that prominent members of the Islamic Republic establishment are accumulating immense wealth comes at a time that rising food and housing prices have angered the population and made their lives difficult. The accusations will add to public cynicism and disillusionment about the country’s leadership and the future of the country.