Corruption a threat to country, warns Iran President Rouhani

09 December 2014

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned on Monday that corruption posed a threat to the Islamic Republic, pinning the blame, in a thinly-veiled attack, on powerful monopolies that control the economy.

"The people made the revolution in order to wipe out corruption," Rouhani told delegates at a conference in Tehran. "Continuation of corruption and the spread of corruption would mean the system and fundamentals of the revolution are in danger."

Iran is considered one of the world's most corrupt places. It was ranked 136th out of 175 countries on Transparency International's corruption index for 2014.

The main areas where graft thrives in Iran include the paying of bribes to facilitate trade in a country where state institutions such as the military exert control in businesses ranging from telecom to oil sales.

"Monopoly is the cause of corruption and we must fight against monopolies. Anything which does not have rivalry or whose management is monopolised is flawed," Rouhani said.

The impact of international sanctions imposed on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme is also blamed for corruption, with hard times making it more likely that government officials and company managers will take backhanders.

Since Rouhani's government took office in August 2013, several prominent graft cases have come to light.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, first vice president under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was sentenced to prison and fined, Iranian media reported in September. And in May, a businessman convicted of masterminding a $2.6 billion banking scam, the biggest fraud case in Iran's history, was hanged.

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