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Iran Arrests 67 People In Drive Against Financial Crime

Iran's judiciary says the authorities have arrested 67 people in a drive against financial crime as the country faces renewed U.S. sanctions and public outcry against widespread corruption.

"Sixty seven suspects have been arrested, some of whom were released on bail, and more than 100 people including government employees and officials, as well as private employees and others have been given travel bans," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said in remarks carried by state television on August 12.

The remarks come as a day after the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, approved a request by the judiciary to set up special courts to deal with financial crimes.

Iranian media quoted Khamenei as saying in a brief statement issued on August 11 that punishments for those accused of economic corruption should be "carried out swiftly and justly."

New Islamic revolutionary courts will be directed to impose maximum sentences on those "disrupting and corrupting the economy," judiciary head Sadeq Amoli Larijani had proposed in a letter to Khamenei.

The request by the judiciary said the courts should be eligible to try all suspects, including "official and military" people. The sentences can include the death penalty.

The decision comes amid a plunging national currency that has lost about half of its value in past weeks following a decision in May by U.S. President Donald Trump to leave the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose tough sanctions.

The Central Bank of Iran and the judiciary have blamed "enemies" for the fall of the currency.

The judiciary said last month that 29 people have been detained for "disturbing" the nation's economy and its "money and currency systems."

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


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