Baku, Azerbaijan, March 17
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Some people claimed that they could circumvent and foil sanctions against Iran, however they only bypassed Iran's national interests, president Hassan Rouhani said, the country's Asriran news portal reported on March 17.
Rouhani made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian MPs.
He went on to say that some people enriched themselves in the name of bypassing sanctions, without unveiling any names.
"Today taking back of national assets from these individuals has become a problem," Rouhani added.
The Iranian multi-billionaire Babak Zanjani who was arrested in December 2013 following the call from Rouhani to the Iranian authorities to speed up the corruption investigations is one of the persons who have been accused of abusing international sanctions against Iran for financial benefit.
Zanjani who is the owner or shareholder of at least 70 companies and banks, including Bank Arzesh in Tajikistan and First Islamic Bank, had been involved in Iran's oil sales and transferring the sold oil's money to the country to bypass the imposed western sanctions on the country.
Reportedly, he owes €2.06 billion to Iran's Oil Ministry.
On March 12, Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said that Zanjani owes 1.1 million rials (about $45) to every Iranian. Iranian judiciary have seized the Zanjani`s assets in Iran. The country also has sent judicial teams to certain countries to determine the value of the overseas assets of the Iranian billionaire.
Hossein Dehdashti, a member of the Majlis special committee to follow up on Zanjani's case, said that Iran's Judiciary has dispatched various teams to Turkey, Malaysia and Tajikistan for the above-mentioned purpose.
President Rouhani has urged the Ministry of Intelligence to make every effort to deal with widespread economic corruption in the country. Referring to unacceptable standards of living in the country, the president added that economic corruption is widespread and confronting it requires comprehensive planning.
Iranian media outlets quoted MP, Ahmad Tavakoli as saying "we have reached a state of systematic corruption."
Those government agencies and state institutes that are responsible for fighting the rampant corruption are to some degree corrupt themselves, according to Tavakkoli.