World News

Rights group condemns Iran's 'abhorrent' execution of 'Sultan of Coins'

Rights group condemns Iran's 'abhorrent' execution of 'Sultan of Coins'

The rial currency has lost about 70 percent of its value in 2018 under the threat of revived USA sanctions, with heavy demand for dollars and gold coins on the unofficial market from ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.

Amnesty International condemned the "abhorrent executions", saying Iranian authorities "flagrantly violated international law" by executing the men for non-lethal crimes.

Vahid Mazloomin and accomplice Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi were both executed after being convicted of "corruption on earth" - Iran's most serious capital offence - for "forming and running a network for disrupting the economy", said the judiciary's news agency Mizan online.

Iran detained Mazloumin, 58, in July for hoarding two tons of gold coins.

It came amid a public outcry against profiteering and corruption after Washington's reimposition of sanctions on Iran in May unleashed a frenzy of illegal trading in hard currencies or gold.

More news: Carmelo Anthony's reps reaching out to other National Basketball Association teams

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a judicial request in August establishing a special court for those suspected of financial crimes, which has since sentenced several people to death.

Iran has suffered a sharp economic downturn this year, fueled largely by US President Donald Trump's decision in May to withdraw from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimpose crippling unilateral sanctions on Tehran.

Trump reinstated the U.S. sanctions and since then the Iranian rial has lost around 70 per cent of its value; it is now 135,000 to the dollar compared to last year's rate of around 40,500.

"Use of the death penalty is appalling under any circumstances but it is even more horrific given that these men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television".

Sporadic protests over the deteriorating economy have erupted in recent months.


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