Afghan money lenders trade Iranian rial for dollars.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a candid remark on corruption in Iran, the Islamic Republic's interior minister said on Saturday that 'dirty money' was weaving its way into the country's social and political fabric, AFP reported on Saturday.
Iran has recently watched as several corruption cases unfolded in the public eye, including the trial of the previous vice president who served under firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
“A large part of the moral corruption in this country comes from the introduction of dirty money into politics,” Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli was quoted by state news agency IRNA.
“For example, a candidate in municipal elections spends 20 billion rials ($600,000). When asked where it came from, he says friends helped him. This dirty money is everywhere.
In a study by Transparency International, a non-government organization, Iran ranked 136th out of 175 countries surveyed for their serious corruption rates.
Rahmani Fazli was speaking at a meeting with law enforcement officials tasked with combating drug trafficking.
According to official figures, the sale of illicit substances and other contraband has reached a worth of some $20 billion. Iranian numbers also report that in the past 11 months Iranian police have seized 500 tons of narcotics and busted 2,000 trafficking groups.
Iran, which shares a 936 kilometer long border with Afghanistan, also hosts some 950,000 Afghan refugees according to the UNCHR and is the main transit point for drugs traveling east from the war-torn country.
Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, who is widely considered a moderate, has repeated the interior minister's sentiments, pledging to fight corruption especially given the crippling sanctions placed on Iran by the international community because of its dubious nuclear program.