Two weeks after widespread protests against economic hardship and lack of freedoms shook the Islamic Republic; its Supreme Leader has ordered the Iranian Armed Forces to reduce their involvement in the country’s economy.
In a January 20 interview with the government owned daily, Iran, defense minister General Amir Hatami said, “Based on ayatollah Khamenei’s edict, General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic has been assigned to pave the way for giving up those economic entities controlled by the Armed Forces that are not related to their mission”.
However, Gen. Hatami noted that the Armed Forces activities, including the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) affiliated Khatam ol-Anbia industrial conglomerate, will continue their activities in the construction sector, according to the needs of the government.
Gen. Hatami has not elaborated which businesses might be transferred to the private sector, but vaguely alluded to entities related to the “investment sector” are on the line for being transferred.
The plan, as Gen. Hatami has put it, will be implemented in the investment sector without any involvement of the government-run Privatization Organization, which can open the door to more controversies.
In the last decade, the IRGC has expanded its economic empire in different sectors, including financial services, with little transparency.