A lawmaker suggested Iran’s roads minister is hospitalized to evade accountability in a corruption case involving his adviser, a relative of an influential ayatollah close to the Supreme Leader.
In a thread of tweets on Friday, Ardeshir Motahari, a lawmaker accused Rostam Ghasemi, the minister of roads and urban development, of taking advantage of his hospitalization as an excuse not to provide any response regarding the arrest of his adviser by intelligence ministry’s agents "exactly on the date he arranged to receive a bribe in euros."
Ghasem Makarem Shirazi, the adviser, is the grandson or nephew of – according to different reports – of Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, a well-known hardliner Shiite leader who is a close ally and staunch supporter of Ali Khamenei. In the latest parliamentary election, the accused ran for office from the city of Shiraz but failed to garner enough votes. He has held several positions during his career and has always been close to Ghasemi.
Ghasem Makarem Shirazi (right), the adviser of Roads Minister Rostam Ghasemi
"Since the arrest of his advisor and special inspector, instead of answering questions, he has been lying on the bed,” Motahari said.
He also implicitly accused the road minister’s son of collaborating with his father’s detained adviser, and mentioned some other names and a corruption case about a land grab in the district of Boumehen (Bumehen) west of the capital Tehran.
Last week, the administration of Ebrahim Raisi confirmed reports about Makarem Shirazi’s arrest, but said the minister is in hospital for a spinal surgery.
Relatives of top figures in the Islamic Republic are often appointed to jobs unrelated to their education and expertise and many of them take advantage of their connections to circumvent regulations to make profit or receive bribes.