What Rouhani’s done to Fight Corruption

By Bijan Khajehpour, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

There has been a lot of talk in Iran about fighting administrative and financial corruption over the past decade. Yet, corruption has not diminished. Rather, the phenomenon has continued to plague the Iranian economy.

High-level meetings, including regular sessions attended by the heads of the three branches of government, have so far failed to produce any tangible improvement. Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Iran 136th out of 175 countries.

While a slight improvement compared with 2013, when Iran ranked 144th out of 177 countries, this standing is unacceptable for a nation seeking to attract hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign investment.

There is no doubt that the administration of President Hassan Rouhani is serious about fighting corruption. In December 2014, Rouhani went as far as stating that the fight against corruption should be felt by the people. There is also an appreciation in the government that a genuine anti-corruption campaign would have to include political and structural reforms.

Mojtaba Khosrotaj, deputy minister of industry, mines and trade, said, “A concentration of power and decision-making without engaging community-based organizations is prone to corruption.” However, actual results have been dissatisfactory. This can partly be explained by the depth of corruption and mismanagement under the previous administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as well as the negative impact the sanctions have had on the business environment.

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