The Structure of Corruption in Iran

The Structure of Corruption in Iran
August 2020
Pooya Azadi
Stanford Iran 2040 Project

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Iran is currently in the midst of its deepest economic and legitimacy crisis since the inception of the Islamic Republic about four decades ago. At the root of these twin crises is a long period of political decay which has slowly but consistently eroded all three institutions that constitute modern governance: namely the state, rule of law, and accountability. Political decay occurs when governmental institutions which were created in the past under different circumstances fail to adjust to underlying changes in the society and economy. Corruption is known to accelerate political decay by distorting resource allocation and incentivizing powerful players to block reforms to protect their vested interests. The aim of this short paper is to describe the structure and extent of corruption in Iran and discuss its dominant types and manifestations in recent years.