Setad, (short for Persian: ستاد اجرای فرمان حضرت امام Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam or "Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam"), is a multi-sector Iranian business organization in the Islamic Republic of Iran, with holdings of 37 companies, and an estimated value in US dollars of $95 billion. It is under the control of the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and created from thousands of properties confiscated from Iranians.
The organization has been described as "secretive" and "little known". It is not overseen by the Iranian Parliament, as that body voted in 2008 to "prohibit itself from monitoring organizations that the supreme leader controls, except with his permission". It is, however, an important factor in Khameni's power, giving him financial independence from parliament and the national budget, and thus "insulating him from Iran's messy factional infighting".
Much of the information compiled about Setad outside of Iran has come from a 2013 investigation by Reuters news agency. In response, Iranian authorities have stated the findings of the investigation lack "any basis", are "far from realities" and "not correct," but given no further details.
The organization started in 1989 to "manage and sell properties abandoned in the chaotic years" after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Much of its proceeds were to go to assist war veterans, war widows "and the downtrodden."
In 2006, as sanctions against the Islamic Republic intensified, the organization determined that conglomerates such as the South Korean Chaebol helped developing economies grow faster. To make a conglomerate out of Setad, the organization set out to acquire other companies and stakes in other companies. According to Reuters the organization acquired a stake in "a major bank" in 2007 and in "Iran's largest telecommunications company" in 2009. In 2010 it took control of Rey Investment Co, valued by the US Treasury Department at $40 billion that year.
Reuters reported that petrochemical companies belonging to Setad stand to benefit from the easing of sanctions stemming from the Geneva interim agreement on Iranian nuclear program.
- Steve Stecklow; Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati. "Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures, (part 1)". November 11, 2013. Reuters. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Steve Stecklow; Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati. "Part 2: An organization controlled by Iran's supreme leader generates billions of dollars a year, helping to solidify his control over a country hobbled by sanctions.". November 11, 2013. Reuters. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Exclusive-Khamenei's Business Empire Gains From Iran Sanctions Relief". New York Times. Reuters. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.