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Leader Orders Special Courts to Probe Financial Crimes in Iran

  8/13/2018
Summary:Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei agreed to a request by Iran's Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani and ordered special courts to be set up to swiftly deal with financial crimes in the country.

In a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei, Amoli Larijani had called for permission to set up the tribunals in the face of the current special economic conditions which he described as "an economic war".

On Saturday, the Supreme Leader accepted the proposal, and said, “The purpose [of the courts] should be to punish corrupt financial criminals swiftly and fairly."

Ayatollah Khamenei also urged the judiciary to ensure the courts' accuracy of their rulings.

Amoli Larijani had proposed in his letter that new tribunals be set up for two years and be directed to hand down maximum sentences to those "disrupting and corrupting the economy."

The Supreme Leader's order came in the wake of 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 tons of gold coins over several months in order to manipulate the market.

The senior Iranian officials have attributed the currency market volatility to the enemies, and said, "The enemies 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 withdrew from May 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran 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 and aviation sectors.

Iranian officials have said US measures are tantamount to an “economic war”, but 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, adding, "That will carry some costs for us, but the benefits will be greater."

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington would no longer remain part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and promised to re-impose the highest level of economic sanctions against Iran.

The sanctions reinstated on Iran on May 8 included boycott of Iran's crude supplies and bans on transfer of its crude revenues. There is a 180 days interval before these sanctions come into effect. Other US secondary sanctions are reinstated this month.

After Trump's declaration, the Iranian government issued a statement, calling the US withdrawal as "unlawful". The statement underlined Iran's prerequisites for continuing the deal with the five world powers. These conditions that were reiterated later by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei later mainly included Iran's guaranteed crude sales and transfer of its revenues back home.

Two months later, the other five powers party to the nuclear deal have failed to satisfy Iran. President Hassan Rouhani voiced his disappointment over a recent package of incentives proposed by the European Union countries to Tehran, and said that the Islamic Republic expected a much better, clearer and explicit stance by the EU.

"Unfortunately, the EU’s package of proposals lacked an operational solution and a specific method for cooperation, and featured just a set of general commitments like the previous statements by the European Union," President Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 5.

President Rouhani pointed to US' unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal, and said, "After the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, Iran has been dealing with economic issues and problems in banking relations and oil, and foreign companies that have invested in Iran are skeptical about continuing their business."

The Iranian president, however, said that the package proposed by the three European countries (the UK, Germany, and France) on how they are going to live up to their commitments and cooperation under the JCPOA was “disappointing”.

President Rouhani reiterated that the JCPOA was a mutual commitment, and said, "Iran had expected a clear plan from the three European countries after the two months’ time they have been given to come up with solid guarantees to ensure Iran’s economic interests would continue to be met despite US pullout and reinstatement of sanctions."

The Iranian president, however, said that Tehran would continue cooperation with Europe if the outcome of the July 6 Vienna talks would be promising.

“If the process of the European foreign ministers’ meeting in Vienna, which is aimed at encouraging Iran to cooperate, is promising, we will continue our cooperation with Europe,” Rouhani added.

But the Vienna talks July 6 among foreign ministers from Iran and the five world powers (Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain) failed to satisfy Iran with senior officials in Tehran complaining that the Europeans had offered nothing new to ensure Iran’s continued merits under the deal.

On July 8, the Iranian parliament's research center has readied a comprehensive plan that includes a detailed list of policies and moves to fight off sanctions as Washington sped up attempts to rally international support for intensified pressures on Tehran.

The comprehensive "active anti-sanctions plan" that has been compiled at the parliament research center after long studies and consultations with experts from Iranian research and academic centers, traders and entrepreneurs is now under study by senior Judiciary, Parliament and Government officials for a final editing.

The program that mainly aims to make the country "unsanctionable" has been developed in contrast to the US sanctions program and has reportedly been edited seven times so far, several MPs told FNA.

Information obtained by FNA reveals the program offers a package that also involves social and cultural measures to reinvigorate the country's economy and infrastructure against the US sanctions that come into effect from 90 to 180 days after their re-imposition and seek to wear off Iran's economy step-by-step.

The plan also entails specific time-based nuclear, security and political leverages that would be enforced in reprisal for enemy threats, while it also envisages transient waivers that could be extended, halted or annulled based on relevant decisions by authorities.

The plan to make Iran sanction-proof includes detailed measures in two 90-120 days and 180-210 days periods in various areas of monetary, banking and currency sector, liquidity management and deterring middlemen disruption and negative interference, optimized forex reserves management, facilitated money transfer in the international market, reduction of intermediary currency role, strategic commodities, budget resources and use, energy, business, trade, structures, culture, society, media and legal affairs.

Meantime, several other plans have also been compiled by university and research centers for improving economy through reinvigoration of national potentials to make the country sanctions-proof.






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