Doublethink investigates how nepotism corrupts Iran’s economy, starting with the extensive financial interests of the Khamenei family network.

Our ongoing investigation has shown that a handful of prominent families dominate Iran’s economy. In mapping this oligarchy, we begin by sharing our findings about the most significant family, that of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Khamenei has exclusive access to the vast capital controlled by the country’s bonyads. These bonyads account for the majority of Iran’s economy, operating behind a veil of secrecy and, often, under the guise of “charity.” Bonyads are also exempt from taxes and public oversight, making them rife with opaque dealings, nepotism and corruption.

Most Iranians are frustrated by these inefficiencies, which they partly blame for the country’s stifled economy. Coverage of corruption in local and international media has thus far relied on anecdotal evidence. This enables Iran’s government to scapegoat individuals and create diversions from the real issue: The vast inner workings of a fundamentally failed system.

Doublethink provides unprecedented research into these inner workings, starting with the extensive network of Khamenei’s familial control over the country’s main economic sectors. The result is a dizzying family tree of Khamenei’s blood and marriage relatives and the powerful positions they hold throughout the country’s economy. The family tree provides names, family relations and titles of positions of power, therefore shedding light on how conflicts of interest continue to stifle Iran’s economic well-being, implicating a family that is supposed to be above the fray.

khamenei_report-sept_2019.pdf (1202 downloads)
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