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Iran Near Bottom In Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Index

Iran has been ranked 149th of 180 countries in the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Transparency International, putting it just outside the 30 most corrupt states. The CPI assesses countries and territories annually on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be by experts. It defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit.”

In 2013, the last year of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidential tenure, Iran was 144th among 177 countries. It rose to 130 in 2017, suggesting a decline in corruption, but has dropped again since then.

Iranian authorities including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei routinely criticize corruption. On April 10, 2001 Khamenei issued an anti-corruption edict demanding the chiefs of the three branches of government not slacken in efforts against graft.

Some state entities under Khamenei’s direct control, such as Astan-e Qods-e Razavi, a religious entity with stakes across Iran’s economy, are among the least transparent organizations in the country. Astan-e Qods-e Razavi manages the shrine of Imam Reza (the 8th Imam of Twelver Shiites) in Mashhad and a portfolio of business interests.

Many high-ranking officials including Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf) and top judges have been implicated or convicted for corruption in the past year. Iran was put on a blacklist of the intergovernmental anti-money laundering Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in February 2020 for failing to approve legislation that would bring the country in line with FATF rules on banking transparency.

According to the Transparency International report, with an average score of 39 out of 100 for the third consecutive year, the Middle East and North Africa − where 18 countries including Iran were assessed − is perceived as highly corrupt.

Two-thirds of the 180 countries worldwide assessed scored below 50. Iran scored 25. The average score for 2020 for western Europe and the European Union is 66.  Denmark and New Zealand stand in the first place with a score of 88 as the least corrupt countries in the world. South Sudan and Somalia rank the lowest in the index with a score of 12.

The Berlin-based Transparency International is a non-governmental organization founded in 1993 to combat global corruption. Since 1995 it has annually published a Corruption Perceptions Index as well as the results of public opinion survey on corruption called the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB). The GCB survey has never been carried out in Iran.

A British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National and journalist at Iran International
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