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Iran needs a more comprehensive strategy against economic ‘crimes’

23 1 7

The execution of a man dubbed the “Sultan of Coins” and his accomplice has brought Iran’s fight against economic crimes and corruption into sharp relief. Vahid Mazloumin had been involved in the gold coins trade for three decades and on the face of it his execution reflects a steely resolve by the Iranian judiciary to crack down on economic saboteurs.

The executions follow on the heels of the establishment of “special courts” by the judiciary to try economic and financial crimes. The Iranian leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei had given his approval to these measures back in the summer.

The call to set up special courts – characterised by a fast-track approach to justice and the imposition of severe sentences – came amid significant turmoil in the Iranian economy, particularly in the foreign currency and gold coin sectors.

But in the aftermath of the executions, questions are being raised about the integrity of the justice meted out against accused “economic” criminals. At a more practical level, there is doubt as to whether the special courts will target the “kingpins” of corruption in Iran. The fear is they are going after corrupt elements who lack adequate political protection.

Read: Iran says US bases and aircraft carriers within missile range

More broadly, there are serious doubts as to whether these courts will have a positive impact on the fight against corruption in the long term. Absent a root and branch approach to this issue – and one whose central focus isn’t retribution directed at a few individuals – it is doubtful that Iran can contain........

© Middle East Monitor