April 2020–August 2021
Tehran Panorama
Editor’s Note

Political Business Empires: An Overview

Tehran Bureau pursues its one-of-a-kind investigations into Iran’s bonyads and the Khamenei family. The articles here provide unparalleled detail about the clans that run the country’s political business empires.

Former Tehran Mayor Qalibaf’s International Business Network

Qalibaf, who previously served as commander of the IRGC’s Khatam al-Anbia conglomerate, struck a controversial deal between Tehran Municipality and the IRGC in 2013. As mayor, Qalibaf awarded Khatam al-Anbia an exclusive four-year $6.06 billion urban development contract in Tehran, bypassing public procurement procedures.

Ali Motahari’s Double-Edged Sword

Outspoken Tehran MP Ali Motahari is known for his fiery speeches and unrelenting criticism of Iran’s conservative leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But an examination of his family ties and business holdings shows Motahari to be in collusion with the same individuals whom he publicly criticizes.

IRGC Co-Founder Rezaei Grips Iran’s Executive Branch

IRGC mastermind Mohsen Rezaei forms the epicenter of several powerful networks whose members are in key positions in the Expediency Council, a 39-member body with the power to make executive decisions on behalf of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The Immense Web of Gholamreza Tajgardoon

Gholamreza Tajgardoon is a reformist MP whose illustrious political career is studded with prestigious appointments, awards of merit and one-on-one meetings with regime elites like the late IRGC General Qassem Soleimani.

Beirut port

A Damascene’s Ode to Beirut

My mother once told me that I was conceived in a hotel room in Beirut. “I still remember. It was off of Hamra,” she said, light-heartedly and unsolicited after we had enjoyed dinner and some wine.