TEHRAN TIGHTENS ITS GRIP AS SANCTIONS BITE
Following a court proceeding that Amnesty International, a rights group, described as “fast-tracked” and a “show trial,” Iran executed Vahid Mazloumin (pictured above), a currency trader, this week for the crime of “spreading corruption on Earth.” He was accused of hoarding two tons of gold coins to manipulate gold prices on local markets. An accused accomplice was also killed, and at least 32 other people face jail time in this case. Mazloumin’s defense argued that Iran has no law against hoarding gold coins.
Gold is a particularly sensitive subject in a country where the currency has lost nearly three-quarters of its value against the dollar in recent weeks, and Mazloumin is not the first to be hanged for financial crimes. In August, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the creation of special courts for these types of offenses, and at least seven people have since been executed, according to Amnesty. The trials are often televised.
At a time of new US sanctions and intensifying economic hardship, the Supreme Leader wants Iran’s people to see a decisive state determined to protect them from financial predators, not a government that can’t manage an economy.