According to the speaker of the Iranian parliament (Majlis), Ali Larijani, 45 parliamentarians are insisting that President Hassan Rouhani look into the alleged wrongdoings of his younger brother, Hossein Fereidun. A petition had earlier been signed by 46 members who alleged financial corruption and abuse of office by Fereidun who is a key advisor and gatekeeper at the president’s office.
Ali Larijani is the brother of Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani who heads the judicial branch. He is someone who has in recent weeks engaged in a war of words with Rouhani about prevalence of corruption in Iran and why there has been little achieved in combatting the phenomenon in the ranks of the Iranian state. Ali Larijani has pledged that he will raise the petition and Fereidun’s case with Rouhani when the heads of the three branches – the executive, legislative and judicial - next hold their routine meeting.
The case of Hossein Fereidun has preoccupied Rouhani’s critics for some time but it intensified after the signing of the nuclear deal in July 2015 and following the removal of international sanctions on Iran in January 2016. Charges of “economic corruption” by Fereidun are linked to his role as a go-between and facilitator between Iranian and foreign firms that are interested in opportunities in Iran.
Tasnim News, an outlet linked to the IRGC, ran an extensive overview of charges against Fereidun, including misappropriation of government funds and money laundering that involved his daughter who lives in London. While there is little doubt that political point scoring is at the heart of the latest charges, Fereidun’s inability to successfully rebut the charges means he will be a liability for his older brother’s re-election bid in May 2017.