Iran: Street Sweeper Finds and Returns $500,000


Written by Fred Petrossian

Headlines about multi-million dollar corruption often dance across the front pages of Iranian newspapers. There is currently hot news about Iran’s biggest bank fraud, allegedly by people with ties to the government.

But all of a sudden a piece of positive news shined in Iran and outside country: A street sweeper named Ahmad Rabani from Bojnourd, 700km from Tehran, found 1 billion Toman (about $570,000 US dollars) and returned it to the owner.

As thanks, he received a 200,000 Toman ($120 US dollars) reward.

Iranian blogger Unirani praises the street sweeper and calls his actions a lesson for Islamic Republic officials involved with corruption. The blogger writes [fa]:

… a man from the working class and a member of the municipality found 1 billion Toman in a bag and returned it to its owner. We realise the worthiness of his actions when we learn he lived in poverty because of dire economic situation in country. Naturally he could have kept the money, resigned from his job, and become one of these millionaires. But he did not do it. Let that be a lesson to those thieves and corrupt people who steal everything in the country and with their impure policies that create endless economic difficulties.

Another blogger, Pesarirouni writes about this story and says [fa]:

Dignity still exists… in a time when a brother has no mercy for a brother… I was born in a working class family and I can sympathise with all the difficulties these people face… I praise his dignity, and think he should get a medal of honor for his actions.

Del2del writes [fa] that Rabani must have overcome big temptations to return the money, since he estimates the amount of money would equal 166 years of a street sweeper’s salary.

This post was originally published by Global Voices.


Related Stories:

US Targeting Iran’s ‘Halal Internet’

Gay Iranians Have a Surprising New Spokesperson

A Love Letter From Israel to Iran



Natalie Rusu
Natalie Rusu5 years ago

Shame! 120$?????????? Stingy man, God will see this...

Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

His honesty is very commendable but I think he deserved a much bigger reward. I'm sure his karma will provide him with one eventually though. Thanks for the story.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L5 years ago

0,021%. That's his reward. If Iran had been a western country, he should have gotten 10%.

Stanley Rampersad
Stanley Balgobin5 years ago

Silly bugger, $120 reward. Many people I know wouldn't have returned Jack. Policy is the best honesty.

Christine Stewart

What a noble guy to return that huge amount of money!

Maree Ann Peterson

Good on him for his honesty,he already has been given a greater reward in the eyes of God,Bless Him!

Caspian C.
Caspian C.5 years ago

One more thing, the person who lost the money may not necessary be super-rich. The banking system in Iran is kinda crippled because the sanctions...which is because the regime acts like an large purchases are often carried out in cash like this. Real estate in the northern districts of Tehran start around 500.000 USD and go up to several millions. This person might somehow have lost the bag on their way to the real estate agency to finalize a purchase. Just saying...

Caspian C.
Caspian C.5 years ago

That's right! We Iranian's are super stingy! :) Just kidding, I think it has to do with the Persian culture, we have bunch of unwritten rules in social etiquette that go back to the Persian Empires times called "Taroof". My favorite example of this is when someone invites you to stay for dinner or pay for dinner or something like that.. the host has to insist at least 3 times and the guest has to politely turn him down 3 times before accepting. Somehow 3 is the magical can stuff your face after that. When I was 10 years old I found a really nice Rolex watch in the back of cab in Tehran, we turned it in and I got "finders fee" equal to about 4 bucks, I later found it was my dad who gave me 4 dollars. Finder's fee is kinda seen as greedy and against Taroof. That being said, people are going through some desperate times in Iran now, and it is very admirable that this man still did the right thing!

Nadine Hudak
Nadine H5 years ago

I don;t think I would have.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

I don't know what I'd do if I found that much, but sure would be tempted to keep some of it, I think. Unless it was a sealed container, how would the loser know who took the rest, and how would the finder know for sure that the loser was the actual, REAL loser, if it's money? Does anyone else know the serial numbers of the bills in their own wallet? I don't.

Sorry, but the story about the guy who returned $100 of the supposed $150 somebody lost? I'm not sure I'm buying that. Was the loser walking around waving a $100 and a $50 bill in a parking lot? If so, pretty careless. Unless somebody sees the "loser" drop the lost object, then with nothing tangible, like with the property deeds, it's a crapshoot.

Look at all the flack now about tossed away LOTTO tickets? Oh, yeah, I accidently dropped that winning ticket! Uh, huh!