Iran had one of the highest rates of corruption in the world, according to the annual Transparency International report released in January 2023. The Islamic Republic ranked 147th out of 180 governments evaluated. Iran received a score of 25 on a sale of 100. (In contrast, the United States scored 69. Denmark topped the list with a score of at 90, while Somalia had the lowest score of 12.)
Iran’s economy has long suffered from inefficient state management, nepotism and rampant corruption. In May 2022, the collapse of a 10-story building in Abadan reflected the scope of corruption; 43 people were killed. Engineers had reportedly warned that the Metropol, a residential and commercial building, was not structurally sound. But government inspectors failed to enforce building codes. The owner of the building had strong political connections. Protesters demanded government accountability for the deaths. Officials arrested more than a dozen people—including the Abadan mayor and two previous mayors—connected to the Metropol. The following is an excerpt on Iran from Transparency International’s 2022 report.
Corruption Perceptions Index 2022
The case of Iran, which has been stagnant on the CPI at its historical minimum of 25 for the past three years illustrates this point: tensions in the country had been building as a result of the economic crisis, the impact of international sanctions and grievances over corruption. The death of Mahsa Amini served as a catalyst for protests by women’s rights activists and frustrated citizens. While the sexist laws and the unjust treatment of women in the country were at the core of the protests, the declining living conditions and corruption in government further fuelled the anti-government messaging. As summarised by Human Rights Watch, "in a country with mass repression, unfree elections and apparent corruption and mismanagement, Iran’s autocracy rules with all that remains: brute force". The violent government crackdown on protestors has resulted in over 450 civilian casualties and at least 17 people being condemned to death and four executed already.