Ahmadinejad under fire

Ahmadinejad under fire
The former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will face sentencing after a parliamentary court found him guilty of misusing billions of dollars in government funds..

The former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will face sentencing after a parliamentary court found him guilty of misusing billions of dollars in government funds.

The public prosecutor at Iran’s Supreme Audit Court has confirmed that Ahmadinejad is facing seven verdicts.

Background

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the sixth President of Iran from 2005 to 2013. A conservative and divisive figure both domestically and internationally, Ahmadinejad courted controversy through his presidency.

Ahmadinejad, was not well-known in Iranian politics until he was elected Mayor of Tehran in 2003. During his tenure as Mayor, he reversed many of the policies that were introduced by more moderate or reformist Mayors who preceded him.

It has been reported that Ahmadinejad did not raise any money for his presidential campaign in 2005. Powerful conservatives mobilized support for him through a network of mosques around the country. As President, he was a defiant champion of Iran’s nuclear power and often clashed with western powers. By 2009, while he enjoyed the popularity among pockets of the population, he had become polarizing in the country. His re-election resulted in one of the largest protests the country has seen since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. By the time he left office, he was facing criticism even from conservatives. In 2017, he registered as a candidate for run for presidency for a third time but he was disqualified by Iran’s Guardian Council.

Analysis

Iran’s Supreme Audit Court is supervised by the parliament. It is currently unclear on whether Ahmadinejad had been formally tried by a court or if the parliament must follow-up on this verdict. Fayaz Shojaie, the prosecutor, said that the final number amounts to over two billion dollars and expressed doubt if it could be recovered. He noted, “In the effort of fixing the damages the decision has been issued and finalized. But the damages and harm from his decisions are so big that we don’t have a way to carry it out. So, what can we do? He in no way has the assets that would cover this amount."

One of the cases dates back to period between 2009 and 2013, when Ahmadinejad was serving his second term. Details remain scarce on how the funds were misused. The former President is yet to publicly issue a statement regarding the verdicts.

Assessment

Our assessment is that unless more details emerge about how Ahmadinejad allegedly misused funds, we cannot confirm the veracity of the allegations. It is also to be seen whether the former President will enjoy any form of immunity from the Supreme Leader. 

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