Sun, Oct 17, 2010 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Revolutionary Guards Increasingly Penetrating Into Iranian Economy
Revolutionary Guards’ involvement in economy: Khatam-ol Anbiya’ Corporation to take part in newly-launched project to construct Iran’s largest highway.
A project called “Shrine to Shrine” was launched earlier this week in an inauguration ceremony attended by President Ahmadinejad.
The project involves the construction of a six-lane highway with a total length of over 600 mi connecting Qom, Tehran, and Mashhad. The ceremony was also attended by representatives from the Transportation Ministry, Melli Bank, and Khatam-ol Anbiya’, the Revolutionary Guards’ construction corporation.
According to Iranian media reports, the Transportation Ministry will be responsible for about half of the project, while the other half will be shared by Melli Bank and Khatam-ol Anbiya’. The estimated cost of the project is 13-15 billion dollars.
In a speech given at the ceremony, Ahmadinejad praised all those involved in the project, mainly the Khatam-ol Anbiya’ corporation. The president said that the country’s development is the greatest mission of the Iranian people and may be an example for the rest of the world to follow. Speaking about the Revolutionary Guards’ construction corporation, which is involved in the project, the president said that “the revolutionary forces of Khatam-ol Anbiya’” fulfill an admirable part in the development of the country, maintaining speed, high quality, and low costs throughout the execution of the projects. (www.president.ir, October 9)
Khatam-ol Anbiya’ commander Rostam Qasemi said at the ceremony that the highway between Qom and Mashhad will be the largest ever in Iran and in the whole world. He had praise for the president and his government for launching the project, saying that the Revolutionary Guards’ construction corporation will continue its involvement in projects for the development of the country. According to Qasemi, the corporation under his command is currently responsible for constructing about 3500 mi of highways and over one thousand miles of railways across Iran (Fars, October 9).
Khatam-ol Anbiya’ was established in 1989, following the Iran-Iraq War, to help rebuild the country. After the war, the corporation expanded into construction, transportation, industry, agriculture, gas, and petroleum.
In recent years, the corporation has won billions of dollars’ worth of tenders in various fields, including the construction of dams, water supply systems, highways, tunnels, and petroleum and gas pipelines, as well as the development of oil and gas fields. There are currently over 800 firms in the corporation.
Last November, the corporation won a $2.5-billion tender to construct a railroad network in the free trade zone in Chabahar (southeast Iran). Several months ago it was reported that the development of several phases in the South Fars oil field was awarded to the corporation after Turkey, the Dutch Shell and the Spanish Repsol pulled out their investment in the expansion of the oil field.
The corporation’s increasing penetration into the Iranian economy has been criticized by various members of the Iranian political system, who have spoken out against the increasing involvement of the Revolutionary Guards in the economy.