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Corruption 'Taints Iran's Judiciary'

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Conservative Iranian legislator Ali Motahari has criticized Iran's judiciary for lack of independence and nepotism. While reformist criticism of Iran's judiciary has drawn international attention, conservative elements in Iran are also dissatisfied with the country's courts.

Ali Motahari

Motahari's remarks on April 24, reported by the semiofficial ISNA news agency, were particularly noteworthy. He alleged that in corruption cases involving relatives of top officials, prosecutors are seeking permission from the officials themselves before even investigating.

The latest financial corruption scandal involves President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's first vice president, Mohammad Reza Rahimi. A conservative lawmaker from Tehran, Elias Naderan, accused Rahimi recently of leading what he called a "corruption circle."

Iran falls to 168 in Corruption Perception Index 2009

An Iranian-born professor at the University of Stockholm, Ahmad Alavi, told RFE/RL's Radio Farda that Iran's judiciary is deeply corrupt, making it difficult for the authorities to stop corruption outside the courts.

Alavi said that, at best, Iran's judiciary may publicize corruption while having little influence on actually reining it in.

Alavi cites Transparency International's "Corruption Perceptions Index," in which Iran fell from 78th in 2003 to 168th in 2009.

"To limit corruption in Iran," Alavi says, "it is necessary to limit the power" of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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