Gov't Earns $350m on Conscript Payoffs
EghtesadOnline: The administration of President Hassan Rouhani has earned $350 million from money paid by conscripts to pay off their mandatory military service, a deputy of Iranian Public Conscription Organization said.
Brigadier General Ebrahim Karimi added that some 600,000 draftees have registered in the past four years to pay for clearing the penalty carried by the duration of their absence from compulsory military service.
"Of this number, about 444,000 draftees managed to get the organization's approval. During the past four years, about 50 trillion rials (about $350 million) have been transferred to the account of the Treasury from payments made by these conscripts," Karimi was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency.
Military service in Iran is compulsory for men and lasts from 18 to 21 months based on where and under what conditions the conscript serve. However, there are a few ways draftees may be able to reduce or altogether eliminate their service period and ultimately receive an official document showing they are no longer draftees in the eyes of the conscription organization, according to Financial Tribune.
One such way is for an 18-year-old draftee to remain absent from military service for eight full years. Conscripts currently serving, runaway draftees and students who stop attending the college are all subject to the law and may apply to buy off their service, if they meet the criteria.
Referring to areas where the money received from conscripts will be spent, Karimi said, "It must be spent based on what has been approved by the parliament and what has been stated in the law".
Non-serving conscripts with an absence of eight years or more must pay from 200 million rials (about $1,400) to 1.5 billion rials (about $10,000) depending on their level of education in the current Iranian year.
Absentee conscripts holding a specialized degree in medical sciences have to pay the highest amount. All payoff volumes have been doubled or in certain cases tripled compared to the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2018).
The scheme may altogether be scrapped in the near future due to a shortage of conscripts. Several members of parliament said last year that there are doubts the scheme will be considered in the government budget for the fiscal 2018-19, but it ultimately was.
"It must be seen what influence this issue will have on the defensive strength of the country," Mohammad Mehdi Mofatteh, spokesman of the Planning, Budget and Calculations Committee of the parliament, had said last year before the budget was approved.
"Experts must comment and the issue will certainly not be approved if it is declared that it will weaken the country's defensive power and make barracks empty," he concluded.