Iran executed two men indicted of economic crimes on Wednesday, part of an effort to curb financial misconduct as the country faces an economic crisis and new United States sanctions targeting its oil sector.
According to Mizan, The news site of Iranian Judiciary, one of the executed men, vahid Mazloumin, nicknamed the “sultan of coins”, was a trader accused of manipulating the currency market.
According to the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), Mazloumin was purportedly caught with two tons of gold coins.
The second man had also been involved in the sale of gold coins and was part of Mazloumin’s network.
Both of them were found guilty of “spreading corruption on earth”, a capital offence under Iran’s Islamic laws.
Special courts to focus on financial crimes were set up in August by the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in the Islamic Republic.
The courts have judged at least seven death sentences since they were set up and some of the trials have been broadcast on live televesion.
The rial currency of Iran has lost about 70% of its value in 2018 under the threat of revived U.S. sanctions, with gross demand for dollars and gold coins on the unofficial market from ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.
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The cost of living has also skyrocketed, provoking sporadic demonstrations against corruption and profiteering, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans.
In August, the United States of America reinstated a first round of sanctions after pulling out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Iran under which international sanctions were lifted in return for halts on its nuclear program.