Iran: No Longer for the Corrupt

"Corruption is the lubricant of the Iranian economy," a diplomat in Teheran once observed. Depending on the size of the pishkash (bribe), justice was bought and sold, tax rights were purchased, government jobs auctioned off, contracts given, and conscription was waived. Sporadic efforts by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi to clean things up usually ended dismally in a disastrous series of acquittals, and cases dropped for lack of evidence.

But ten months ago, new Premier Assadollah Alam pledged to undertake "an anticorruption campaign with great diligence and all severity." Though the cynical snickered, Alam got free rein from the Shah, carefully began...

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