Iran executes 'Sultan of Coins' convicted of hoarding

Two men hanged in Iran for hoarding gold coins as the country wages war on economic crimes

Iran executed two men accused of hoarding gold coins to manipulate the market price on Wednesday.

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.

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.

The courts have handed out at least seven death sentences since they were set up and some of the trials have been broadcast live on television.

"With these abhorrent executions the Iranian authorities have flagrantly violated global law and once again displayed their shameless disregard for the right to life".

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Iran detained Mr Mazloumin, 58, in July for hoarding 2 tonnes of gold coins. His defense claimed that the Iranian Central Bank did not have any limits on the amount of coins a person could hold.

Amid a deepening economic crisis, the Iranian authorities have carried out mass arrests of individuals whom they describe as "financially corrupt" and "saboteurs of the economy", convicted them of charges related to financial crimes and sentenced some of them to flogging, lengthy prison terms and the death penalty after grossly unfair summary trials.

The Iranian rial has plunged to 135,000 to the U.S. dollar from last year's rate of about 40,500.

The local currency has plummeted in recent months following US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in May, which had lifted global sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear programme.

Growing public anger over high inflation, economic hardship, and widespread corruption has led to sporadic street protests in Tehran and other cities, with the demonstrators chanting antigovernment slogans.

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