Don’t trust numbers in Islamic Republic’s budget!

Iranian dissident activist Hassan Daei

[In this VOA Persian program, Iranian dissident activist Hassan Daei explains why numbers in Iranian annual budget bill cannot be trusted as they don’t reflect money spent by IRGC and other entities overseas.]

Hassan Daei: There is one thing that I have realized for years in their overseas activities and even in their domestic activities. And that is, you shouldn’t trust their official numbers and statistics in the budget. First of all, 30% of Islamic Republic’s economy lacks transparency, and it is in hands of IRGC, Basij, and other entities under the supervision of Iran’s leader like Astan Qods Razavi, etc.

Where does the revenue of this 30% go? Nobody knows. How much is this revenue? Where is it spent? Nobody knows. When we think of overseas activities, it is the same. Nowhere in the budget do we see the money that they have spent in Syria. It is between 10 to 15 billion dollars per year. Where in the budget has it been mentioned? Now we get to these radios and television networks. When we talk about Islamic Republic’s activities overseas or advancing its activities overseas – exporting revolution or exporting fundamentalism, whatever you call them – the regime uses several strategies.

First, military activities. Second, religious activities – such as religious seminaries and Islamic schools all over the region and the world. Third, it is this TV and advertisement system. And last, it is all the squandering that they do. For example, building free clinics in Lebanon, or giving away free food in Trinidad. These four. There are no official numbers in this regard anywhere.

As for radio and television, because there is nothing in this regard, I talked to several media experts who are in the U.S., and I told them about it. The estimate is that a television network like Hezbollah’s Al-Manar costs $20 million per year. My estimate is that these networks cost about $150 million per year. And this is for those that are overseas, and not those that belong to IRIB. Networks with ties to IRGC Quds Force in the region and other places in the world cost about $150 million.

TV host: That is apart from networks related to IRIB.

Hassan Daei: Yes.

–TV host: Apart from Sahar TV and Press TV.

Hassan Daei: Yes.