On Monday Reuters
published part oneof a three-part investigation into the financial empire of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which was built based on billions of dollars in property seized from Iranian citizens through an organisation called Setad.
And yet the organisation itself is essentially sanctions proof.
Here’s a Setad chart that shows the organisation’s holdings in major banks, real estate, an insurance company, power plants, energy and construction firms, soft drinks manufacturing, and other major industries.
And Reuters reports that Setad has largely avoided sanctions because the West knows that Khamenei — “the one man with the power to halt Tehran’s uranium-enrichment program” — is ultimately behind Sedat’s operations.
Asked why Khamenei himself wasn’t targeted, U.S. officials told Reuters they did not want to play into the hands of Iranian officials who maintain that Washington’s ultimate goal in pressuring Iran with sanctions is to topple the government.
“Regime change is not our policy,” said one U.S. official. “But putting pressure on this regime certainly is.”
By the time Setad felt the pressure, it was already a giant.
Consequently, sanctions devastate lives of normal Iranians while the supreme leader is insulated by an empire that generates “billions of dollars a year” in revenue, according to Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
“[Khamenei] has a huge sum at his disposal that he can spend,” says Mohsen Sazegara, a co-founder of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps military force, who is now living in exile in the United States. “When you have this much money, that’s power itself.”
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