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Cash Penalty in Lieu of Military Service
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Cash Penalty in Lieu of Military Service

In 1999-2001 the then government for the first time allowed “buying” military service. Now after 14 years, the incumbent government is planning to waive conscription and instead collect penalties from those who have evaded the compulsory military service.
Such an arrangement “will apply to eligible men who have evaded draft for more than ten years,” Alef News Agency reported. The proposal will come up before the Majlis in the new calendar year (starts March 21).
Mohammad Mahdi Mofatteh, spokesman of the Majlis (parliament) joint budget committee, said the funds accrued from fines paid by draft evaders will be about $857 million. The joint committee has estimated that 100,000 evaders will buy their military service. Each should pay $8570 if exempted.
 “At present we have 1.5 million draft dodgers,” he noted. Some MPs have agreed to the plan.
Abbasali Mansouri, a member of the Majlis national security and foreign policy committee said the plan can be successful. “I am in favor of a professional army.
 People shouldn’t be forced to become soldiers, like in other countries,” he said.
 Numerous Problems
However, the proposal if passed “will create numerous problems as a result of its unprofessional devising, and needs revision,” a report in Tabnak said.
According to the constitution, the maximum age for enlisting in the mandatory military service is 50 years, and there is no legal obligation to serve if the age bar is crossed. Disregarding the fact that a younger person “buys more years of conscription before the age limit is reached,” a lesser fine is considered for draftees with shorter duration of absence, and higher fines for those who are “runaway draftees for a longer period.” This is because the former has been dodging duty for a shorter period of time whereas the latter has violated the law over a longer period. The scheme must be devised and implemented in a manner that “it facilitates exemption to older rather than the younger, healthy individuals.”
Also,  draftees who buy their military service and are by law deprived from acquiring positions in the government or the Majlis, are free of restrictions once they cross 50 years, “whether or not they have paid for their two years of serving term or dodged it for the entire period.” Making matters more complicated are the various problems due to age difference among active enlisted draftees in the military service, the report says.

Procedures
The indeterminate state of draftees, who have avoided enlisting for less than eight years while there are certain procedures to follow for paying the fine or buying conscription by runaway draftees of over eight years, is also problematic. “The result will be chaos and lead to the youth postponing enlistment for eight years following which they can either pay the fine or buy their serving term.”
The source of the problem stems from the fact that lawmakers have introduced “certain figures to their advantage,” including the “two-million prospective runaway draftees for over eight years who will not make decent soldiers even if they enlist right away.”
Dissatisfied with the proposal, the public has reacted by calling it “unfair and improperly assessed”.

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