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While international sanctions have made life a struggle for many Iranians, they were a big break for businessman Babak Zanjani, who made a fortune helping the government evade the restrictions on oil sales.Two days before Zanjani's arrest, Rouhani had written to his first deputy demanding action against sanctions profiteers.The collective that gave Zanjani his big opportunity was the Revolutionary Guard, which expanded its social, political and economic influence under Ahmadinejad, playing a major role during the 2009 presidential election and the suppression of protests after two defeated moderate candidates claimed the vote was rigged.Zanjani says that the following year, when Rostam Qassemi, a former senior commander in the Guard, became oil minister, he asked Zanjani to sell oil and transfer money back to Iran.In late December, with Ahmadinejad out of office, a dozen parliamentarians, most of them critics of the previous government, wrote a letter to Rouhani, Larijani and the head of the judiciary, accusing Zanjani of initiating an illegal $5.4 billion business deal, hanging on to money from oil sales to the Oil Ministry and demanding that corruption charges be pursued against him.Zanjani was arrested days later, and within a week a senior aide was also arrested.
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