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Among the myriad institutions where Mohsen Rezaei, longtime top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, cultivates his clan networks is Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation, a small cultural NGO and media outlet aligned with the popular website Tabnak News. Though obscure, Sobh Qarib Iranian brings together a group of IRGC officers and right-wing clerics whose interests range from high politics to helicopter and pasta production.
The Sobh Qarib Iranian Network
Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation was founded by the family of Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam, the creator of Iran’s ballistic missile program, following his 2011 death in an explosion at a military base in Iran. Rezaei, a close friend of Moghaddam, became the foundation’s board chairman in 2016.
As a magazine and news website, Sobh Qarib Iranian syndicates most of its content from Tabnak News. It also dedicates much of its editorial space to promoting regime propaganda and the teachings of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. About one-third of its content comprises opinion pieces about Rezaei.
The source of Sobh Qarib Iranian finances is not available in public records. However, its alignment with Rezaei suggests that it, like his news website Tabnak, is publicly funded.
“Government and private organizations and institutions are not obligated, but are permitted, to offer financial and moral support,” Sobh Qarib Iranian’s CEO Seyyed Reza Mirzadeh told Tabnak in a 2015 interview. He described the organization as an Interior Ministry-accredited NGO with offices in the cities of Saveh, Ilam, Kermanshah and Isfahan.
Mirzadeh added the organization also had an Iraq branch, Defenders of the Holy Shrines, which undertook “positive activities” and was “training a group of young educated individuals who have capacity to accept major [public service] responsibilities in the future.”
Sobh Qarib Iranian also collaborates with various charities and cultural organizations, including Tehran Municipality Cultural Directorate and Iraq’s Cultural center in Tehran, according to Mirzadeh.
The Complete Network of Mohsen Rezaei
The Individuals Connected to Rezaei via this Foundation Include:
Ali Tehrani Moqaddam, nephew of ballistic missile program designer Hassan, who has served as the CEO, Board Chairman and Board Member of Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. His other business interests are:
- Board Chairman of Electro Tadbir Co (LTD), which according to its articles of incorporation manages electricity projects, carries out miscellaneous trade activities, import-export and packaging
- Sadaf Talaei Qeshm Trade Services, an import-export company registered on Qeshm Island, where tax laws are more lax
- Board Member of Shohadaye Ghadir Enqelab Institute, a publishing house and a multimedia production company which also publishes books about Ali’s uncle Hassan Tehrani Moqadddam
- Board Member of Shohadaye Ghadir Velayat, which is a charity
Mohammad Tehrani Moqaddam, brother of ballistic missile program designer Hassan, is a board member at Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation and the board chairman of the Shohadaye Ghadir Enqelab Institute. He is the CEO of Shohadaye Ghadir Velayat charity, where his daughter Mahdiyeh is the treasurer.
Mohammad Tehrani Moqaddam has established a number of companies on Qeshm and Kish Islands and in Tehran including:
- Energy Pazhouhan Kimia Kowsar (Import-Export and trade)
- Energy Pazhouhan Aryan Pars Qeshm (electricity, machinery imports)
- Energy Pazhouhan Aryan (electricity, trade)
- Arghavan Nour Qeshm (producer of tissue paper, sanitary pads, toilet paper)
- Pars Electroflow Kish (electric power transmission and distribution)
- Sepehr Peyma Kish Helicopters, which has been accused of attempting to bypass sanctions by various opposition groups. The company is involved in renting out helicopters, training pilots, investment and import-export.
- Farzanegan Sobh Saeed Trade Co builds helipads and airport runways and is involved in mining, oil, gas & petrochemical pipelines, agriculture, livestock agriculture, other unspecified industrial activities, beauty and personal hygiene products, household appliances, audio visual devices, ship parts, and packaging.
Hojjatoleslam Yadollah Habibi is also a Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation board member. He is the speaker of the Resistance Front of Islamic Iran, the political party Mohsen Rezaei founded. Habibi, who previously represented Khamenei’s interests at the Defense Ministry, was appointed as the advisor of the secretary general of the powerful right-wing Combatant Clergy Association party in 2014.
Habibi is a member of the Allameh Asgari Institute, a publishing house. Aside from Habibi, the institute’s board consists of Asadollah Amir Aslani, a former Bank Melli CEO tried for corruption but mysteriously exonerated in 2003, and Reza Motalebi Kashani, who is one of the founding members of the National Council of Charities, an umbrella NGO comprised of eight family-owned foundations. Reza Motalebi Kashani also owns Tak Makaron, one of Iran’s top pasta brands and reportedly played a part in creating a pasta shortage to gouge prices, according to Eqhtesad Online daily.
Mohsen Aliabadi is a founding member of the Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. He is the son of Mohammad Aliabadi, the former head of the Physical Education Organization of Iran and president of the National Olympics Committee of Iran from 2008 -2014. Mohsen Aliabadi was once implicated in a financial scandal involving 5 to 20 billion toman ($5-20 million) in missing funds. He also used his father’s position to attend the 2010 Asian Games in China with all expenses paid, according to Asr-e Iran newspaper.
Mohammad Ebrahim Maddahi is a board member of the Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. A psychologist by trade, Maddahi was an MP for Aligoudarz county in Lurestan Province from 1996- 2000. He became the head of Chess Federation in 2005.
Seyyed Reza Mirzadeh has been CEO and board chairman of the Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. According to his website, Mirzadeh has held the following positions:
- IRGC commander in Khuzestan
- IRGC commander in Ramhormoz
- Deputy IRGC commander-in-chief of Khuzestan Province
- Head inspector of the Basij forces
- Deputy of Inspections and Investigations of the IRGC central command
Mirzadeh worked in Venezuela after former President Hugo Chavez asked Ayatollah Khamenei for assistance in organizing popular forces in the country, according to Mirzadeh’s personal website. There, he helped establish an Islamic center, train “popular forces” and start a Persian language program at the Bolivarian Military University.
Mirzadeh has also held several Expediency Council positions.
Yazdan Moayedinia is vice chairman of Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. He was the former commander of the Seyyed ol-Shohada Corps’ 10th Brigade, a Tehran-based IRGC outfit charged with suppressing civil unrest.
Moayeddinia is a close friend of former IRGC commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari and served as Jafari’s chief of staff from 2007-2019. He has been the vice chairman of the Taekwondo Federation since 2014.
Hossein Dadkhah Dastjerdi a.k.a. Hossein Dadkhah is a member of the Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation’s board. Dadkhah wrote his masters thesis on the religious permisibility of suicide bombings.
Dadkhah is a member of the central council of the Development and Justice Party of Islamic Iran. The party’s other members are former military commanders. Mohsen Rezaei is considered its “spiritual father.”
During Rezaei’s presidential campaign in 2009, Dadkhah was the deputy of the Student Outreach Committee of Mohsen Rezaei. He became the late politician Ebrahim Raisi’s campaign manager in the 2017 presidential election.
Dadkhah has also held various Expediency Council positions.
Omid Eslam Jamali Golzari is the CEO and vice chairman of Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. He is a member of the central council of the Development and Justice Party of Islamic Iran. He became the caretaker of Taavon Insurance, which is connected to the Armed Forces and IRGC-affiliated Askariye Finance Credit Institution. The insurer’s board subsequently deemed Jamali Golzari underqualified and demoted to the position of “advisor,” according to Nasim Online News Agency.
Jamali Golzari was appointed the managing director of the Expediency Council’s Public Relations Office in 2018. While the expediency Council’s mandate does not include foreign travels and sending diplomatic missions abroad, Jamali Golzari accompanied Haddad Adel and other council officials to China. The trip did not meet the legal requirement of parliamentary approval.
Mehdi Vakilpour is a board member at Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. He is also the Secretary General of the Development and Justice Party of Islamic Iran. He was a candidate in the 2020 Majlis elections but dropped out of the race.
Vakilpour held various positions in municipal departments when Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf was mayor of Tehran including:
- Deputy of district affairs for the Tehran Municipality’s Youth Affairs Officer (Khaneh Shahr Yaran Javan)
- Manager of Inspections and Supervision of the Tehran Municipality’s Strategic Headquarters for Neighborhood Management
Vakilpour has also held various Expediency Council positions.
Mahmoud Naqdipour is a board member at Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. He is a member of the central council of the Development and Justice Party of Islamic Iran. He headed the Rezaei campaign’s Student Outreach Headquarters in the 2013 Presidential Elections.
Naqdipour has also held various Expediency Council positions.
Shahin Sepehri is a board member of Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation. He is a member of the central council of the Development and Justice Party of Islamic Iran. Sepehri was a Rezaei campaign surrogate in the 2013 presidential election. Rezaei appointed him speaker of the National Students’ Headquarters, which is likely run by the Expediency Council, in 2013.
Sepehri has also held various Expediency Council positions.
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