Bonyads are Iraniancharitable trusts that control over 40% of Iran's GDP. Initially set up during the time of the Shah, they were used to funnel money into the Shah's personal coffers. After the Iranian revolution, the Bonyads were used to redistribute oil income amongst the poor and amongst the families of martyrs. A charitable trust is a trust organized to serve private or public charitable purposes. ... Shah (in Persian: Ø´Ø§Ù), from the Old Persian word khshathra-pava king, popularly referred to as satrap by the Greeks, is the Persian term for a monarch and used by the former rulers of Persia as well as the rulers of the Persian Empire. ... Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. ... Protestors take to the street in support of Ayatollah Khomeini. ... Historically, a martyr is a person who dies for his or her religious faith. ...
Today, Bonyads are a consortium of comapnies which are exempt from taxes and answer directly to the unelected supreme leader of Iran. Bonyads are overstaffed, corrupt, and generally not profitable. In 1999 Mohammad Forouzandeh, a former defense minister, reported that only 20% Iran's Bonyad companies were making a profit.
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