Topical Articles

Parastatal Foundations and Challenges for Iranian Development

Suzanne Maloney

The main point of this article is that parastatal foundations in the Islamic Republic weaken the ability of the elected government to enforce its will in the political and economic arenas. It is on the basis of this power that these para-governmental organizations can curtail and control the central government's policies and actions. The author puts this theory to the test by studying the specific case of The Foundation for the Oppressed and the Veterans, and shows that the foundations control enormous resources and wield considerable influence; something which has allowed them to form a powerful network outside the governmental structure.


Realizing a Novel Vision: The Housing Foundation

Kamal Atthari

The Housing Foundation was created to realize a wish expressed by the founder of the Islamic Republic who charged the organization with the task that: "No one, no matter in what corner of the country, should be denied the chance to own a home." This article, which is based on the belief that the founding of institutions does not, in and of itself, guarantee social progress, but that such institutions have to take form from within the society itself, seeks to evaluate the performance of the Housing Foundation and demonstrate the fact that this institution has not been very successful in realizing the dream it set out to materialize.


The Support and Welfare Duties of the Foundations

Fariborz Raisdana

This article examines the Imam Khomeini Aid Committee, the Foundation for the Oppressed and the Veterans, the Martyrs Foundation, and the Housing Foundation, from the specific angle of their support and welfare duties. While these organizations are -in one way or another- dependent on the financial resources of the government, they not only fail to demonstrate any considerable effect, but are also effectively not accountable to the government. It is the author's contention that these institutions have to be re-structured within the framework of the kind of social and economic policies that would foster social justice and enable it to merge with and compliment the national economy. The paper proposes the transfer of the support and welfare duties of the foundations to a comprehensive social security system so as to reduce bureaucratic redundancies and the commensurate waste of resources which would let civic groups, such as the families of the Martyrs and the veterans of the Iran-Iraq War, to benefit from aid and support in a fair and democratic manner, allowing proper respect for an individual's dignity and self-worth.


The Role of the Foundation for the Oppressed and t‎‎he Veterans in Society and the Economic Arena

Mohammad-Reza Farzin

Here is an analytical examination of the performance of the Foundation based on a study of its resources and its expenditure over the last thirteen years. The author evaluates the organization's work in the economic arena and its management of the affairs of the veterans and the Oppressed, and judges this record against its founding charter. Then, two scenarios are proposed to suggest a more efficient use of the foundation's assets and strengthen its hand in engendering national progress: 1) The Foundation should cease all financial activity and transfer that responsibility to the private sector. And 2) as the second best scenario: The Foundation should carefully review its financial portfolio and revise its investment strategy.


Vaqf and Modernity in Iran: Astan-I Qods-I Razavi's Agricultural and Industrial Activities

Bernard Hourcade

Prior to 1979, Astan-i Qods-i Razavi, the largest religious charity organization in Iran, was a division of the regional government of Khorassan and its directors were usually chosen from among the prominent clerics and bazaaris of Mashhad. After the Revolution, the organization became an independent entity and the new management team was able to strengthen its power-base and financial independence by investing in industry and agriculture. This article is an analysis of the organization's policy of agricultural expansion, and is based on four specific case studies which show that the new directorate was able to transform an aging and poorly-managed charity organization into one of the most wide-ranging and powerful companies in the Middle East. However, as the author reminds us, Astan's great success is, to some extent, the result of its unique and extra-ordinary national status, something with which other companies and organizations are not blessed.


Foundations in a Glance

Farid Aghevli

This is a brief report on the duties and activities, as well as the human capital and the financial resources of four revolutionary organizations: The Foundation for the Oppressed and the Veterans; The Imam Khomeini Aid Committee; the Martyr's Foundation; and the Housing Foundation.