Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, controls a financial empire worth an estimated $200 billion, U.S. officials said Thursday. "The possessions of the current supreme leader Ali #Khamenei alone are estimated at $200 billion, while many people languish in poverty because of the dire economic situation in #Iran after 40 years of rule by the mullahs," the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said in a Facebook post.
In 2013, Reuters stated that Khamenei controlled a business empire worth around $95 billion, a sum exceeding the value of his oil-rich nation's current annual petroleum exports. The little-known organization, called Setad, is one of the keys to the Iranian leader's enduring power and now holds stakes in nearly every sector of Iranian industry, including finance, oil, telecommunications, the production of birth-control pills and even ostrich farming.
Setad has built its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians, members of religious minorities, Shiite Muslims, businesspeople and Iranians living abroad, according to the report. According to one of its co-founders, Setad was created to help the poor and war veterans and was meant to exist for just two years.
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