Iran’s previous government smuggled $22 billion of oil money to İstanbul and Dubai to keep exchange rates in check, and the current government is looking to reclaim this money, the Iranian vice president said on Tuesday. report Zaman
Iran’s state-run news agency İRNA quoted Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri as saying that the $22 billion was smuggled out of Iran under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Jahangiri was speaking about ties with Turkey following the revelation of a corruption probe linked to Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani, who is now in prison in Iran.
“We are surprised that a young man was allowed to control more than $2.7 billion in oil revenues,” Jahangiri was quoted as saying in reference to Zanjani.
Zanjani, who was detained in Tehran on Dec. 30, 2013 by Iranian officials, is believed to have participated in shady business activities in Turkey with another Iranian businessman, Reza Zarrab, who was a suspect in a government corruption investigation that went public in Turkey in December 2013. Zarrab was acquitted in a court decision that was criticized for being rendered under intense political pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“If this amount [$22 billion] is not returned to our country’s economy, it will be shameful for Iran. … We are looking forward to the return of this money to Iran,” Jahangiri said on Tuesday. The vice president also criticized the former government for responding slowly in the prosecution of the case of smuggled money.
In 2009, Ahmadinejad’s administration faced a major scandal when Turkish authorities said that a whopping $18.5 billion in cash had entered Turkey, without specifying the details or the source of the money, Rudaw news agency reported on Tuesday.
Later, Turkish media said the money had come from Iran and had been seized at the border.