Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 11
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran's oil-dependent economy has been recently freed from the pressure of international sanctions, thanks to the July 2015 nuclear deal, but it seems the country will suffer the negative effects of embargos for a long time.
During the sanctions period, some people and entities made big money bypassing international sanctions on Iran, leading to intensification of corruption in the country, which has already been suffering from lack of transparency.
Iran's Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi has recently said that lack of transparency in economy and business environment, which was significantly obvious during the sanctions era, remains one of Iran's economic problems.
"The Iranian administration now makes efforts in the areas of transparency, anti-corruption and legal protection of people and entrepreneurs, as well as the promotion of business environment," Pourmohammadi told reporters in Tehran Feb. 10.
A day earlier, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, in a similar statement, called for taking measures to counter corruption in the country. He also criticized corruption in an organization without revealing its name.
"When we want to produce, a corrupt organization, which I don't want to name or how it can smuggle [goods into country], does not allow the country to grow," said the Iranian president.
Rouhani noted that ending monopoly and allowing competition will boost the economy.
It is not the first time that the issue of smuggling by some governmental organizations in Iran comes into the agenda.
Earlier in 2011, Iran's then president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a controversial statement that the "smuggler brothers" were using the navy docks in southern Iran to conduct their business.
Many experts agreed at the time that the term "smuggler brothers" was a reference to the IRGC commanders.
Earlier, Ahmad Tavakkoli, a senior Iranian MP, warned that systematic corruption is threatening the future of the Islamic Republic.
"Not military aggression, neither military coup, nor even velvet revolution can have any impact on the Islamic Republic, but corruption is a certain threat," Tavakkoli said December 2015.
He also said Iran has reached a state of systematic corruption, which means that the institutions tasked to battle corruption in the judiciary branch, the security forces and parliament are themselves corrupt to some extent.
Following months of negotiations with six world powers, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activities, in exchange to removal of the international sanctions.
Last January, the US and the EU lifted their nuclear-related sanctions, as the deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, aka nuclear deal) came into force.
Although the "sanctions story" is already over, it apparently will be used in the future as a tool by Iranian officials to cover the economic shortcomings in the country, including the outstanding corruption.
Umid Niayesh is Trend Agency's staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh