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As Iran’s economy struggles, Khamenei’s office is founding new companies in tech, finance and pharma
Mofid Rahbar, the accountancy that exclusively services organizations overseen by Ayatollah Khamenei’s office (Beyt-e Rahbari), audits 403 private businesses and other organizations with privileged access to tax exemptions and government grants. They include book publishing, banking and food-producing brands Iranians encounter on a daily basis.
Mofid Rahbar was established in 1993 as an auditing firm that, according to its website, offers “professional services to institutions and agencies supervised by the Office of the Supreme Leader.”
Since we last reported on the firm in 2019, the list of organizations overseen by Mofid Rahbar increased from 289 to 403. In the past three years, Beyt-e Rahbari’s portfolio of companies in the tech sector doubled. Its holdings in the financial sector increased 63 percent, while the number of pharmaceutical and healthcare companies increased 21 percent.
Updated List of Companies Audited by Mofid Rahbar
Mofid Rahbar has been the board inspector2 on several newly-established companies owned by Khamenei’s bonyads:
1- Bonyad to Support Missionaries and Missionary Activities on the International Arena (Est. October 18, 2021)
This institution is a subsidiary of the Endowment and Charity Affairs Organization (Oqaf) and its main activities are “providing financial resources to support missionary activities internationally through the endowment of facilities and grants to missionaries.” The trustees/board members of this new institution include several members of the SL inner circle including :
- Mahmoud Lolachian (trustee)- Lolachian is the father-in-law of Khamenei’s youngest son, Meysam. Lolachian is involved in a wide range of businesses and charities.
- Seyyed Mehdi Khamoushi (trustee)- a cleric with close ties to Ayatollah Khamenei as well as Majles Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and other members of the Islamic Republic ruling elites. He is a member of the Tehran Seminary’s Management Council, serving as the secretary of the council. He is the current head of Oqaf and the former head and a trustee of the Islamic Development Organization (IDO).
- Abuzar Ebrahimi Torkaman (trustee)- is the current head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO). Torkaman has served as a cultural attache for the Islamic Republic in Turkmenistan, Turkey, and the Russian Federation.
- Mehdi Ahari Mostafavi (Board Member)- Some of his past/ present positions include: former head of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO), the Islamic Republic’s envoy to Austria, and Germany, Deputy Foreign Minister, deputy head of the SL Office’s international directorate, and Member of the Islamic Republic’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations. Mostafavi was also involved in the US Embassy takeover and hostage-taking crisis (Nov 4, 1979 – Jan 20, 1981) and his appointment as the Iran envoy to Germany in 1987 drew criticism from the US state department citing concerns “that Mostafavi might use his position to help establish a terrorist network in Europe”, according to a Chicago Tribune article.
- Majid Meshki (CEO)- is a cleric who also heads the Almurtaza International Institution, which produces propaganda in different languages and trains international missionaries to spread the Supreme Leader’s ideology.
- Ali Abbasi (trustee)- is a cleric who heads the Al-Mostafa International University (Jameat-ol-Mostafa Al-Alamiya). The University has been sanctioned by the US treasury for being “a recruiting ground for the IRGC-Qods Force.” The university received 487 billion Toman (115,952, 381 USD) in the 2021-2022 calendar year.
- Alireza Erafi (trustee)- a member of the Guardian Council, who was formerly the president of Al-Mustafa International University (See Above) and the Friday prayer leader of Qom and Meybod.
- Mostafa Morsali (trustee)- Another cleric with close ties to Ali Khamenei and one of the founders of the Islamic Revolution Committees that dispatched impromptu justice to perceived enemies of the 1979 Revolution in the early years of the regime. He represented the supreme leader at Sharif University, traveled with Ali Akbar Velayati on diplomatic missions, and founded the Ghadir Encyclopedia Foundation with Velayati. Morsali is also the CEO of Ashura International Bonyad, which was created on the order of the supreme leader to promote Khamenei’s agenda internationally. Morsali is also a founding member and trustee of Khatam University along with Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
- Reza Ramezani (trustee)- this cleric represents the Caspian province of Guilan in the Assembly of Experts, a powerful body that is tasked with overseeing and appointing the Supreme Leader himself, and previously headed the Islamic Center of Hamburg3 and founded a seminary in Hamburg.
- Mohsen Qomi (head trustee)- He is a member of the Assembly of Experts, a Deputy Advisor for International Affairs in the Supreme Leader’s Office, and an advisor to the Supreme Leader on International Communications. Qomi has represented SL on international visits and at universities. He was sanctioned by the US Treasury in 2020 in recognition of his efforts to ‘advance the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing objectives.’
2- Waqf Mandegar Multi-Branch Qard al-Hassan Fund (Est. December 27, 2021)
This institution is also a subsidiary of the Endowment and Charity Affairs Organization (Oqaf) and its main activities include: “Holding at least 5% and at most 10% of the funds received from persons as “Qard al-Hassan (interest-free loan) Deposit” in the form of “Certificates of Participation bonds guaranteed by banks, the central bank or the government”, “Short-term investment bank deposits”, and ” Qard al-Hassan checking accounts” or a combination of them,” “granting Qard al-Hassan loans for essential needs such as employment, wedding and dowry, expenses, healthcare costs, home construction, mortgage, and renovation and repair, and tuition fees, from the remaining resources of the fund,” as well as “receiving monetary and non-monetary assistance and gifts from the government, and/or natural and juridical persons.”
Two of its notable trustees are:
- Seyyed Mehdi Khamoushi (trustee)- a cleric with close ties to Ayatollah Khamenei (see above).
- Alireza Hoshyar Aq Qaleh (trustee)- he is connected to various businesses and bonyads controlled by the SL and audited by his accounting firm including the Development and Improvement of National Endowments Bonyad (BTOM) where he is a trustee.
3- Pars Salamat Nano (Est. May 3, 2020)
This company is a subsidiary of EIKO. Its articles of incorporation state it is involved in the “purchase and sale, production and distribution, import and export of all authorized commercial goods, including medical, therapeutic, hospital, dental, rehabilitation, and laboratory equipment and supplies,” “health products, cosmetics,” “upstream and downstream petrochemical, oil and gas industry products,” “all-cellulose, electrical, electronic products,” “heating and cooling installations and their installation, operation and maintenance,” “foodstuffs, agricultural and petrochemical products,” “auto parts,” and “design, manufacture, and sale of machinery and production lines used in the production of these goods and products,” as well as “producing products and services based on new technology,” “clearance of goods from domestic and international customs,” “opening letters and lines of credit,” and ‘obtaining Rial and foreign currency loans.”
Pars Salamat Nano is listed on the Alborz Distribution Company’s website as being the producer of three-ply masks for adults and children.
Alborz Distribution is a subsidiary of Alborz Investment Group which is an EIKO-owned pharmaceutical holding with several subsidiaries including Atipharmed, Alborz Darou, Iran Darou, KBC, Tolid Darou, Sobhan Darou, Sobhan Oncology, Sobhan Pharma Group, etc.
Alborz Investment Group is in turn a subsidiary of Barakat Pharmaceutical Group which, according to a now redacted page on its website but available via web archive, is one of the largest pharmaceutical holdings in Iran, with over 20 subsidiaries. This group has a 14% share in the country’s drug production market and produces 420 different drugs.
The founding board of Pars Salamat Nano featured companies such as Pars Bazargan (oil and gas company and subsidiary of Tadbir Energy Development Group (TDEC)), Persia Oil & Gas Industry Development Co (TDEC subsidiary), Arman Productivity and Construction Engineers, and Petro Iranian Karkheh (Both Persia Oil & Gas subsidiary →TDEC), and NanoTech Ayandeh (SANTA).
On its website, SANTA claims to have been founded in 2019 with the aim of “Investing and commercializing nanotechnology products.” However, public records show that the company was originally founded on October 26, 2011, as Tose Ertebatat Jame Mobin a telecom company that was a subsidiary of Iran Mobin Electronic Development (IMED). IMED (EIKO) along with Shahriyar Mahestan (BTS) and Tose Etemad Investment (BTS) were the three members of the Mobin Trust Consortium that purchased the Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran, the largest mobile operator in the country, in 2009.
Pars Salamat Nano was dissolved on February 19, 2022.
4- Barakat Online Insurance Broker (Est. December 10, 2019)
This EIKO-owned company is a broker of insurance policies. Public records show it is registered at the same address as Barakat Pharmaceutical Group and its founding board featured Barakat Foundation, one of the main holdings/ subsidiaries of EIKO, Salamat Barakat, a company that manages healthcare facilities, and is involved in pharmaceutical import-exports and Refah va Tamin Atiyeh Omid, a company that “provides for the future and helps the welfare of EIKO staff, and is registered at the same address as EIKO.
It is noteworthy that one of the founding members of Refah va Tamin Atiyeh Omid Seyyed Hessam Shams Alam is a long-time executive of Parsian Bank. EIKO owns a 45% share in Parsian Bank via several of its subsidiaries.
5- Bina Institute (Est. June 29, 2020)
This institution is a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Organization (IDO). its articles of incorporation state it is in the business of conducting “studies on scientific, religious and policy research topics on domestic and international issues, providing quantitative and qualitative analyses,” “publishing studies and analyses through holding exhibitions and conferences,” creating “video clips, digital texts,” “social media activities,” and “providing services to institutions and organizations per the institute’s objectives.”
One of the most notable members of this institute’s founding board is Seyyed Meysam Seyyed Salehi who happens to be to be the manager of Soroush, a controversial Iranian messenger app4 created to replace Telegram which IRI officials accused of stoking unrest in the country and banned5 during the 2017-2018 protests.
In 2018, Salehi became the CEO of Jam-e Jam Institute, which prints Jam-e Jam newspaper and runs its website. He held the position until April 2020. It should be noted that Fariduddin Haddad Adel, whose sister Zahra is married to Mojtaba Khamenei, has been a long-time board member of Jam-e Jam Institute.
6-Barakat Health Strategy Development Co (Est. February 24, 2020)
This is another EIKO subsidiary that states its activities as “providing consulting services… hospital design and expansion, providing solutions for optimizing the use of existing spaces, providing consulting services and supply and maintenance of medical and non-medical equipment,” and “human resource management”
Barakat Foundation, Barakat Ehsan Foundation, Salamat Barakat were on its founding board.
7- Tadbir PM (Est. November 9, 2020)
This EIKO subsidiary is a portfolio management services company. According to its articles of incorporation, the firm’s activities include: “accepting positions in investment funds,” “risk management consulting,” “consulting in mergers, acquisitions, changes and the restructuring of companies and organizations,” as well as “consulting in the design and formation of financial institutions,” “financial information processing activities,” “designing securities,” and “ marketing and sale of securities,” and “determining the selling price or underwriting of securities.”
8- Barakat Employment Development Qard al-Hassan Fund (Est. May 16, 2021)
This fund is a subsidiary of Barakat Foundation, one of the main holdings/ subsidiaries of EIKO.
According to its articles of incorporation, this company offers “Qard al-Hassan (interest-free) loans to create and increase employment from the fund’s excess resources,” opens “Qard al-Hassan (interest-free) bank accounts,” accepts “assistance and monetary and non-monetary gifts from the government, and/or natural and juridical persons,” and creates “any insurance coverage for the fund’s assets with insurance companies and institutions.”
9- Pishgaman Sareer Razavi Investment (Est. November 3, 2021)
A subsidiary of AQR, this company’s activities include “investing in stocks, shares of companies, investment units of funds or other securities …to make a profit by acquiring control of a company, on its own or along with its affiliate companies…, ” and “investment in coinage, precious metals, bank deposit certificates…” as well as “ import-export and customs affairs.”
10- Sina Sabad Gardan (Est. November 19, 2019)
Sina Sabad Gardan is a portfolio management company and its articles of incorporation allow it to “buy, sell or hold securities in the name of a certain investor,” and “accept positions in investment funds,” among other things.
11- Arzesh Afarinan Ideh Paydar (EST. July 19, 2020)
A subsidiary of the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (IKRF), this company’s activities include “establishing new companies and partnerships with other companies for profit,” “participating in production and construction projects for profit,” “ import-export and customs affairs,” “ participating in domestic and international expos,” “offering business services, conducting studies and offering consulting services in various fields including economics, management, market, and industrial engineering,” “holding expos”, and “ sales and procurement of any and all equipment and accessories, creating online shops and e-commerce and customer clubs, project management providing any and all engineering services, financial management, non-network, and non-pyramid business management, distribution management, supply and sale of all essential accessories, and electrical and electronic equipment.”
12-Energy Gostar Dezh Nirou (EST. October 6, 2020)
A Bonyad Shahid (BS) subsidiary this company’s articles of incorporation state it is in the business of “producing and selling electricity to individuals and legal entities inside the country and abroad, purchasing electricity, constructing new and renewable energy and hydropower power plants,” “buying and selling goods, tools, machinery, and equipment …from inside the country or abroad,” “taking necessary measures to improve productivity, optimize and develop the capacity of power plants, outsourcing technical and engineering operations (including operation, maintenance, design, installation, commissioning, supervision, development, and optimization of facilities),” “investing and financing projects related to energy, establishing or participating in value chain companies,” and “buying and selling any and all fertilizers and their derivatives, performing other activities that are directly or indirectly related to the subject of the company’s activity” among other things.
13- Faraz PMC (Est. November 2, 2020)
Another Bonyad Shahid subsidiary, Faraz PMC is a portfolio management services company that according to its articles of incorporation is involved in a variety of ventures including “accepting positions in investment funds,” “risk management consulting”, “consulting in mergers, acquisitions, changes and the restructuring of companies and organizations,” “consulting in the design and formation of financial institutions,” “financial information processing activities,” “designing securities,” “ marketing and sale of securities,” “determining the selling price or underwriting of securities,” “obtaining financial facilities or acquiring assets … investing in, or establishing an independent legal entity, or participating in the establishment of other legal entities,” “opening bank credit documents and import or export of goods and performing relevant customs services.”
14- Khorshid Hashtom Raouf Kowsar Hotel (Est. January 16, 2022)
This Bonyad Shahid subsidiary carries out a wide range of activities including but not limited to “constructing, establishing, administrating, managing and operating tourism buildings, hotels, motels, restaurants and all activities related to tourism services, accommodation and catering domestically and internationally,” “buying, selling, renting, and … of hotel, motel, and restaurant buildings and facilities and equipment, objects and goods necessary for above-mentioned activities,” “establishing higher education and academic centers to train the company’s employees as well as other persons … in the tourism and hospitality industry and related services,” “investing and partnership in domestic and international companies and institutions in affairs that are directly or indirectly related to the tourism and hospitality industry,” and “conducting any financial and commercial transactions in the field of tourism and hospitality.”
15- Tadbirsazan Safar Gostar (Est. April 12, 2022)
A subsidiary of Bonyad Maskan, this company was founded to “create and equip tourism facilities,” “ manage and operate tourism facilities,” and “investment in tourism.”
- All conversions are based on the Iranian government’s exchange rate.
- In Iranian business structures, a corporate inspector oversees the work of the board members, can inspect the company’s financial books, and has a say in the company’s financial decisions.
- German daily paper Die Welt reported in 2022 that the Islamic Center of Hamburg (IZH) is “Iran’s long arm in Europe” and has “links to a terrorist organization,” ultimately controlled by Khamenei.
- The app has been embroiled in controversy with reports of the app having serious security issues like allowing anyone to access user phone numbers and user accounts being created for individuals without their knowledge or consent.
- In the past Iranian authorities had asked Telegram to censor content it deemed harmful. The request was denied by the company. Banning the Telegram during protests while apps like Soroush were available raised concerns over the safety of Iranian apps.
This post is also available in: فارسی (Persian)