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Politics

Zarif's Leaked Audio Reveals Corruption in Iran's Elections

March 26, 2024
Ehsan Mehrabi
5 min read
Zarif's statements have once again brought attention to the roles of Mohammed Ali Jafari and Hossein Taib, two former top officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in the parliamentary elections
Zarif's statements have once again brought attention to the roles of Mohammed Ali Jafari and Hossein Taib, two former top officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in the parliamentary elections
Furthermore, Zarif labeled Mahmoud Nabavian, a hardline politician and a prominent figure in attacking the 2015 nuclear deal or JCPOA, as a "liar." He also raised allegations of economic corruption against Hamid Rasai, another hardliner MP, branding him as "corrupt"
Furthermore, Zarif labeled Mahmoud Nabavian, a hardline politician and a prominent figure in attacking the 2015 nuclear deal or JCPOA, as a "liar." He also raised allegations of economic corruption against Hamid Rasai, another hardliner MP, branding him as "corrupt"
Mohammad Ali Jafari's involvement in the electoral process, particularly through Saeed Mohammad's list, began in 2021 and continued into the recent parliamentary elections
Mohammad Ali Jafari's involvement in the electoral process, particularly through Saeed Mohammad's list, began in 2021 and continued into the recent parliamentary elections
Hamid Rasaei's corruption case stems from allegations of embezzlement totaling one billion and eight million tomans ($16,000 with March 2024 rate) during his tenure as the general director of the Molarity office in Qom
Hamid Rasaei's corruption case stems from allegations of embezzlement totaling one billion and eight million tomans ($16,000 with March 2024 rate) during his tenure as the general director of the Molarity office in Qom

In a recently obtained audio file by IranWire, former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif referred to certain individuals involved in the parliamentary elections as "behind everything" and labeled two elected members of the parliament as "corrupt and liars." 

This report delves into the individuals to whom Zarif attributed such characteristics.

Zarif's statements have once again brought attention to the roles of Mohammed Ali Jafari and Hossein Taib, two former top officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in the parliamentary elections. 

While the involvement of certain controversial elements in Iranian elections is not new, the dynamics have shifted since the 2021 elections. 

According to Zarif, Hossein Taeb, former head of the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC, and Mohammad Ali Jafari, former commander-in-chief of the IRGC, played pivotal roles of being "behind everything" in the election process. 

Zarif claimed that Jafari and Taeb were responsible for preparing "the entire electoral lists."

The unveiling of the electoral list by Saeed Mohammad, former commander of the economic base of the IRGC, known as the Khatam-ul-Anbiya construction base and supported by Jafari, solidifies the involvement of the former IRGC commander in the elections. 

However, there are differing narratives regarding Hossein Taeb's role.

Furthermore, Zarif labeled Mahmoud Nabavian, a hardline politician and a prominent figure in attacking the 2015 nuclear deal or JCPOA, as a "liar." He also raised allegations of economic corruption against Hamid Rasai, another hardliner MP, branding him as "corrupt."

Mohammad Ali Jafari's Intriguing Role in Elections 

Mohammad Ali Jafari's involvement in the electoral process, particularly through Saeed Mohammad's list, began in 2021 and continued into the recent parliamentary elections.

Saeed Mohammad, alongside figures such as Ali Akbar Raifipour and Mohammad Reza Gholamreza, a former political deputy of the Ministry of Interior, submitted a list that emerged victorious. 

Before this, there had been pressure on Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, also a Brigadier General of the IRGC, to remove his deputy due to alleged interference in the elections.

Saeed Mohammad could have run for parliament himself and been a candidate supported by the IRGC for the presidency. However, he was not nominated, likely due to fears of disqualification. 

Similar to the 2021 presidential elections, this network played a significant role in advocating for Saeed Mohammad's candidacy.

In the 2021 presidential elections, the faction associated with the IRGC essentially thwarted Saeed Mohammad's bid for candidacy. 

However, during the parliamentary elections, this faction was able to operate without obstruction.

During the 2021 elections, Yadullah Javani, the political deputy of the IRGC, expressed strong opposition to the IRGC faction's involvement in the electoral process without adhering to legal procedures.

Saeed Mohammad was consequently relieved of his duties at the Khatam-ul-Anbiya construction base for violating regulations.

During this period, the then-commander of the IRGC and affiliated movements did not actively oppose Saeed Mohammad's list. 

However, individuals like Hamid Rasaei accused the former commander and media outlets associated with the IRGC of supporting Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the current Speaker of the Parliament. 

In a disclosed audio file featuring Mohammad Ali Jafari and his economic deputy, their involvement with Ghalibaf was evident.

Despite tensions and conflicts between Mohammad Ali Jafari, Hossein Taeb, and others, reports emerged of joint meetings to decide on the list of trustees. 

Notably, Mahmoud Nabavian and Hamid Rasai topped this list, individuals whom Zarif branded as "corrupt" in the audio file.

Although the Stability Front has undergone significant changes, to maintain its political orientation, it united with the Coalition Council and presented a joint list led by Ghalibafb and Morteza Agha Tehrani. 

This has led to different interpretations of Hossein Taeb's role, with some suggesting he played a double role, potentially supporting Ghalibaf while collaborating with Mohammad Ali Jafari.

Zarif's Clash with Taeb: 2021 Presidential Election

Amidst the ongoing conflict between Mohammad Javad Zarif and Hossein Taeb, one notable incident concerns the release of an audio file containing Zarif's interview. 

The primary aim behind the publication of this recording was purportedly to discredit Zarif's candidacy in the presidential election. 

Furthermore, the final blow to Zarif's aspirations came with the remarks made by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Zarif himself acknowledged that had he registered for the 2021 elections, he would likely have faced disqualification. 

"Liar and Corrupt": Tehran's First Representative

Mohammad Javad Zarif finds it deeply disheartening that Mahmoud Nabavian, a staunch opponent of the JCPOA, has been appointed as the first representative of Tehran and is even being considered a potential candidate for Speaker of the Parliament. 

Zarif has labeled this development as "embarrassing for Tehran."

Before his tenure in the 9th Parliament, Mahmoud Nabavian lacked significant political experience. 

Unlike some other politicians who entered parliament indirectly, Nabavian does not shy away from public conflicts and controversies.

Nabavian's staunch opposition to the JCPOA led to numerous clashes with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with allegations including claims that Zarif had promised to hand over Qasem Soleimani to the USA as part of approving regulations from the Special Financial Action Task Force (FATF). 

These allegations were vehemently denied by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson at the time.

Additionally, Nabavian made derogatory remarks about participants in recent protests and praised the Taliban, claiming they were not terrorists and that they were interested in studying the works of Iranian scholars. 

Amidst controversies and criticisms, Tehran now grapples with the representation of a figure like Nabavian, whose statements and actions have stirred considerable debate and opposition.

Hamid Rasaei's corruption case stems from allegations of embezzlement totaling one billion and eight million tomans ($16,000 with March 2024 rate) during his tenure as the general director of the Molarity office in Qom. 

In some instances, these allegations led to his disqualifications, followed by subsequent confirmations due to political pressure.

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