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Iranians in uproar over executive pay at state-owned company

Leaks of executive pay at Iran’s main state-owned insurance company spark a public backlash, with a hint of what President Hassan Rouhani may face as the country enters election season yet again.
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Bimeh Markazi, or the Central Insurance of the Islamic Republic of Iran (CII), is housed in a baroque-style tower alongside Tehran’s upscale Jordan Street. The state-run company, which also acts as a regulator, was established in 1971 and is overseen by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance with the mission to “expand and guide insurance operations in Iran.”

The CII came under fire last week when the pay stub of one of its employees appeared on the popular messaging app Telegram. The name of the employee was crossed out but likely belonged to one of the five members of the CII’s executive team. Subsequently, more stubs were leaked, displaying what appeared to be monthly salaries in the tens of thousands of dollars, interest-free loans and significant overtime payments. The CII responded by releasing two pay stubs belonging to one of the executives, showing a base monthly salary of 85 million rial ($2,800). It argued that the large sum leaked was in fact not a salary, but 84 months of back payment owed to the employee in question. This did not help quell the anger directed at the CII and the government.

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