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The family of Mohsen Rezaei, who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from 1981 to 1997, has the power to veto parliamentary legislation, mastermind covert ops, and direct the content of Iran’s most popular news site. The clan also controls major Iranian sports institutions and regulatory bodies, including Esteqlal football team, the Taekwondo Federation, the Sports Ministry and the Majles Sports Committee. 

Rezaei’s son Ali has stakes in several sports associations, as does Rezaei’s business associate Yazdan Moayedinia. But the man with the most sports connections is Rezaei’s brother Omidvar Rezaei Mirqaed, who has his hands in:

  • The Ministry of Sports and Youth: Omidvar is advisor to the Minister.
  • Parliament: Omidvar headed the Majles Sports Committee from 2008- 2012. This parliamentary grouping uncovered widespread corruption in Iranian football in 2014, when Omidvar was no longer its chairman. 
  • A Regulatory body: Omidvar is Chairman of the Sports and Culture Commission of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.

Omidvar’s positions in these government and regulatory bodies poses conflicts of interests with his other activities, including in the following major sporting associations: 

  • A national football club: Omidvar is the board chairman of high-profile Tehran-based club Esteqlal and their representative in the Iranian Football Federation.
  • Official sports medicine: Omidvar is an executive board member of the Iranian Sports Medicine Federation 
  • Wrestling: Omidvar is Vice Chairman of the Cuxe Wrestling Federation
  • Olympics: Omidvar is a member of the Medical Commission of the National Olympics Committee 

By trade, Omidvar is a medical doctor who studied under Professor Majid Samii and established Professor Samii’s International Health Institute in Tehran, where he is board chairman. (Tehran MP Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf’s family-controlled foundation, the Imam Reza Charity, is building a hospital for Samii.) Omidvar Rezaei has used funds provided by Bonyad Mostazafan and Tamin organization to create another Samii Teaching Hospital, according to Mehr News. There has been no public query or oversight over such funding. Noteworthy of mention, Omidvar has been MP in the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Majles.

Martial Arts

Another sports enthusiast in the family is Mohsen Rezaei’s son Ali Rezaei Mirqaed, who previously played for Esteqlal, the football team his uncle Omidvar Rezaei controls, according to Asr-e Iran newspaper. 

Aside from his posts in business and politics, Ali was a directors board member of the Martial Arts Federation of Iran. He unsuccessfully tried to secure a position in Iran’s Golf Federation, according to Serat News. 

The third clan member with interests in sports is Mohsen Rezaei’s business associate Yazdan Moayedinia, an IRGC luminary who has been the Vice Chairman of the Taekwondo Federation since 2014.

Iran has brought home 14 gold medals from World Taekwondo Championships and a total of 57 medals, standing 5th in the all-time world rankings. Yet at a domestic level, competitors have reported corruption in the highest echelons of the sport. A regular competitor in domestic competitions told Doublethink that there is high competition turnover, but that many training facilities still lack basic standard equipment. Our source also questioned the independence of referees and accused Moayedinia of having “no expertise.” 

Moayedinia is connected to Mohsen Rezaei through the Sobh Qarib Iranian Foundation, of which Moayedinia is vice chairman while Rezaei is the chairman. Moayedinia was the former commander of the Seyyed ol-Shohada Corps’ 10th Brigade. Moayedinia is a close friend of the former commander-in-chief of the IRGC Mohammad Ali Jafari (2007-2019), according to Mashregh News, and was Jafari’s chief of staff

The Complete Network of Mohsen Rezaei

This post is also available in: فارسی (Persian)

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