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The Huge Share of Paramilitary Basij Force in Iran's Budget

May 9, 2023
2 min read
The Huge Share of Paramilitary Basij Force in Iran's Budget

New research shows that at least $105.3 million of state funds were allocated this year to the Basij Organization, Basij industries and “jihadi” groups associated with the paramilitary force.

The budget bill for the Persian year starting in March includes an allocation of about $52.2 million for the Basij Organization, the collaborative initiative Iran Open Data said in an article published on May 9. In addition, about $6.9 million were allocated to "Strengthening the Defense and Security Infrastructure of the Basij" and "Basij Development." 

It added that more than $20 million were also allocated to the Basij organizations and "Jihadi" groups under the rows named "poverty alleviation" ($1.6 million) and "construction projects of Jihadi groups" ($18.5 million).

A review of the text and provisions of the budget bill shows that other resources and benefits have been allocated to the Basij, according to Iran Open Data, which said that available information makes it impossible to estimate the total financial value of such resources and benefits.  

 - The Ministry of Oil is required to allocate free bitumen worth $25.8 million to Basij industries. This bitumen is intended to be used for the "asphalt of inter-farm roads, law enforcement bases, Basij resistance bases, martyrs' cemeteries, hunting bases, military barracks and residential complexes, and military and administrative complexes." 

- Basij, Jihadist groups, volunteer Basij forces and Basij industries are exempt from paying "fees and value-added taxes paid for the purchase of goods and services for all quick-turnaround and public-interest projects.”

- The Provincial Planning and Development Councils are allowed to allocate 5 percent of their development credits to the "construction, completion, reconstruction and equipping of law enforcement and Basij units."

- The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development is required to provide land for "establishing police stations, police precincts, bases and resistance areas, as well as cultural and sports centers of the Basij" free of charge.

- Benefits are also allocated to Basij members, including loans for marriage, childbearing and dowries. 

Due to a lack of transparency, the volume of contracts and revenues generated by the construction activities of the Basij is not clear, but the group's budget exceeds many government institutions and ministries, Iran Open Data pointed out. 

Furthermore, this organization has a greater share of the country's budget resources than institutions such as the presidency, parliament, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.


Iran Open Data's original article in Persian is available here.  

Founded in 2016, Iran Open Data (IOD) strives to make Iran’s official data accessible, available and re-usable. Not only does IOD collect and process raw datasets for researchers and experts, it also publishes exclusive data-driven articles and digital stories for the general public. Additionally, IOD conducts public data calls and surveys on often neglected or taboo issues that are rarely addressed by the government. Follow IOD for all the data-stories concerning Iran.


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