At least a dozen people have been reportedly killed or seriously injured in Iran, following the latest wave of protests against the government’s Nov. 15 decision to triple the price of gasoline.
As producers and distributors, regime-linked companies are in prime position to set gasoline market prices. Any revenues made from the effects of the government’s decision would flow into the bank accounts of these same enterprises.
In our latest research, we analyzed a list of over 200 companies audited by Mofid Rahbar, an accounting firm that exclusively services companies overseen by the Supreme Leader’s Office. (We will publish a full report of that investigation later this week.)
This list of Supreme Leader-linked businesses includes 13 oil & gas companies involved in each step of the petrochemical production process.
Two companies, the U.S. Treasury-sanctioned North Drilling and Pars Energy Gostar Exploration and Drilling explore and drill for oil.
Another three companies, Kowsar Oil & Gas, Hormoz Energy and Payandan transport the oil. Next, four companies (Behran Oil, Payandan, Parsian Sepehr Refinery and Razavi Oil & Gas Development) operate refineries where the oil is converted to gasoline.
This gasoline then serves as the base for other petrochemical products sold by Pars Oil, Arman Productivity and Construction Engineers, Ghaed Bassir Petrochemical Products and Tabchem Chemical Industries.
Aside from their close formal ties to the Supreme Leader’s Office, all 13 companies have beneficial ownership links to at least one of four parastatal foundations, or bonyads: Mostazafan Foundation, Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO), Astan Qods Razavi and Bonyad Shahid.
Far from acting as the charitable institutions they were set up to be, bonyads are at the heart of a kleptocratic system that funnel public funds into private hands, our deep-dive report on bonyads has shown.
Our database of bonyad-owned companies includes dozens of oil & gas businesses that may potentially benefit from the contentious gasoline price hikes. Check back with us for updates on how Iran government actors are linked to private enterprises in this strategic industry.