November 26, 2019
Reports by local media in Iran say former Roads and Urban Development Minister son has been arrested on corruption charges by the Intelligence Ministry. Earlier, hardliner media had said he was arrested by the country’s judiciary.
Shahram Ejtehadi, an adviser to the former Minister Abbas Akhundi, has also been arrested on the same charges, Fars News Agency close to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards reported.
According to the report Mehdi Akhundi and Ejtehadi who were arrested for taking bribes from contractors to secure deals with the Roads and Urban Development Ministry are related to one another while Ejtehadi is also “related to another senior official”.
The conservative Alef news website on Monday quoted an “informed source” as saying that the Intelligence Ministry arrested Akhundi but did not mention Shahram Ejtehadi, the adviser to Mehdi Akhundi’s father.
Abbas Akhundi who had served in the Cabinet from 2013 resigned from his post as Minister on October 20, 2018, presumably in protest to the administration’s economic policies.
In his resignation letter Akhundi had said continuing to serve in his post was “ethically wrong” because he believes in “abiding by the law”, “respect for property laws” and “market competition” and the policies adopted by the administration to overcome issues emanating from U.S. sanctions are contrary to these policies. Akhundi ran for mayor of Tehran soon after his resignation but lost.
President Hassan Rouhani and other administration members have recently criticized the Judiciary for having a partisan approach in dealing with corruption. On November 10 Rouhani accused the Judiciary of “making a fuss about small cases while big cases of corruption involving billions of dollars remain unresolved.” The Iranian President also threatened the Judiciary to reveal details about these cases.