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Iran’s Leader agrees with special courts on financial crimes

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has agreed with a request by Iran’s judiciary chief to set up special courts to deal quickly with financial crimes.

According to Press TV, in a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani had called for permission to set up the tribunals in the face of “the current special economic conditions (which) are considered an economic war.”

The Leader accepted the proposal on Saturday, saying, “The purpose [of the courts] should be to punish corrupt financial criminals swiftly and fairly.”

Ayatollah Khamenei also urged the judiciary to advise the courts to pay special attention to the accuracy of their rulings. “The courts should be advised to (ensure) the accuracy of their rulings.”

Ayatollah Amoli Larijani proposed in his letter that new tribunals be set up for two years and directed to impose maximum sentences on those “disrupting and corrupting the economy.”

“Given the current special economic conditions that are considered a kind of economic war and, unfortunately, some of those disrupting and corrupting the economy also provide for the enemy’s goals and commit crimes that require urgent and rapid action, if you see fit, please allow the head of the judiciary to act within the framework of the penal code … on those disrupting the economic system of the country.”

The letter requested that the trials be conducted in open court, but any suspension or mitigation in the sentences of the convicts be prohibited.

It also demanded that all court rulings barring death penalties be final, with death sentences subject to appeal at the Supreme Court within the maximum time of 10 days.

The development comes in the wake of a record devaluation of the rial which has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since the start of the year.

Dozens of people have been arrested for disrupting the forex and gold coins market. According to Tehran Police Chief General Hossein Rahimi, a man and his accomplices have been arrested for collecting two tonnes of gold coins over several months in order to manipulate the market.

Officials have attributed the currency market volatility to the enemies, saying they are out to destroy the country’s assets and instill disappointment among the public.

A sharp drop in rial’s value prompted a registration flurry of new companies which have reportedly received government dollars at concessionary prices for imports but have sold them at inflated rates in the black market.

The situation arose after US President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May and announced the most restrictive sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The sanctions target Iran’s purchase of US dollars, its trade in gold and other precious metals as well as its automotive sector.

Iranian officials have said US measures are tantamount to an “economic war” but Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani stressed last month that threats against Iran would have the opposite effect.

“Threats will further unite us; we will certainly defeat America,” he said. “That will carry some costs for us, but the benefits will be greater.”