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Iran's Majlis meets in closed-door session to discuss corruption issue

Tehran, Nov 2, IRNA-The Iranian parliament (Majlis) met in a closed-door session on Thursday to discuss the issue of corruption in the economic and administrative sectors of society. Among those who attended the session was Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi.

Speaking at the session, Shahroudi defended the changes that have been introduced in the Iranian judicial system as "a must," and explained that judicial policies were first sent to the Expediency Council for approval and then to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei before they were implemented.

Pointing out that Islamic law encourages the extrajudicial approach such as the use of negotiation or mediation to solve sticky problems, he said that other changes that will be proposed to the country's judicial system will focus more on the prevention of crime and avoidance of prison sentences.

Turning to the ongoing government battle against economic corruption, the ayatollah emphasized the need to boost security for investment, both foreign and domestic, and informed that the headquarters formed by the government fight economic corruption includes representatives of the three branches of power who are tasked with safeguarding the nation's assets and ensuring implementation of anti-corruption and transparency laws, rules and regulations.

Noting that the tools and means of identifying corrupt practices are matters of grave concern to society, Ayatollah Shahroudi blamed inefficient economic institutions as the root of the problem.

He further blamed the dual nature of the Iranian economic system -- neither "state-owned" or "free enterprise" -- as yet another reason for the rampant economic problems of the country, and then referred to the continuing lack of investment security and inability to build confidence in investors as other problems in the sector.

Further to the Judiciary chief's analysis of sources of weakness in the economic system, he said unwise and untested regulations were also among factors encouraging corrupt economic activities because "economic and financial regulations that have contributed to the success of economies are quite transparent, simple, direct, precise and fixed in today's world." On the other hand, he said, Iranian banking, customs and tax laws, rules and regulations are so complicated that many investors are discouraged to invest or prefer not to get themselves involved in them at all.

He explained that cases of economic corruption were of two types -- corruption in the economic sector and in administrative organs.

He said that corrupt economic practices discourage investors which in turn slows down economic activity, adding that cases of embezzlement, bribery, illegal privileges, misuse of public funds, obtaining illegal advantages from government have a very negative effect on investors.

He termed corruption in the economic sector as "most evil" because they hurt the economic system by destroying the machinery that generates domestic production, thereby giving rise to unemployment, poverty, economic recession, under the table dealings, smuggling and, more important, the flight of Iranian capital to greener investment pastures in neighboring or foreign countries.

He then urged government to take strong measures to protect investors who have a record of active participation in the country's development.

Hashemi Shahroudi concluded his remarks by cautioning all judiciary, security and law enforcement officials to be careful in dealing with cases and allegations of economic corruption because of their "highly sensitive" nature.

... Payvand News - 11/2/05 ... --

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