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Individuals behind economic corruption have nowhere to flee: Iran Judiciary chief

Iran's Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raeisi has said that individuals behind money laundering, economic corruption and instability in the country will have nowhere to flee according to the country's Islamic governance values.

Raeisi made the remarks concluding his tour of judicial institutions in Iran’s northwestern Ardabil province on Thursday.

“Economic corruption exists in all areas, including the executive, financial and banking sectors. This is clear when the high number of judicial cases is taken into account: it shows we are facing reoccurring cases of corruption,” he said.

He added that reforming governance structures which may lead to corruption are among the most important responsibilities of the parliament and the government.

Raeisi said it is imperative for the judiciary to crack down on economic corruption as “people’s current living conditions are influenced by such malicious practices”.

“Today, it is the responsibility of all authorities to strive for the advancement of national production. Words are not enough to accomplish such; all these words need to be turned into action,” he said.

Raeisi pointed that the judiciary has been able to help 1,200 factories and workshops recover from economic stagnation as part of its initiative to counter legal hurdles impacting production in the past year.

“The emphasis of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution is to facilitate national production, remove barriers hampering employment and the creation of more jobs,” he said, adding that “the voices of employers, entrepreneurs and workers must be heard”.

The judiciary chief said that before his tour in the province, 17 teams from the judiciary had been sent to survey the province’s cities and their related legal issues.

He added that illegal land seizures and legal disputes related to the province’s Moghan agricultural and industrial area were among the most important identified issues.

He said that a board of jurists was to be immediately formed in order to make a final decision in regards to the agricultural and industrial area.

Earlier this month, Raeisi thanked Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for agreeing to extend the mandate of special tribunals set up to try economic corruption cases.

The courts were established in 2018 on the request of former Judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani in the face of the special conditions which he described as “an economic war.”

Ayatollah Amoli Larijani proposed then in a letter to the Leader that new tribunals be set up for two years and directed to hand down maximum sentences to those “disrupting and corrupting the economy.”

The Leader accepted the proposal, saying, “The purpose should be to punish corrupt financial criminals swiftly and fairly.”

Ever since, the Islamic Republic has successfully tracked and hunted down many heavy-weight corrupters, who had monopolized profit across key economic sectors.

The Leader this month agreed to extend the mandate of the trials after being asked by the new Judiciary chief.

The special courts were set up in the mayhem following a record devaluation of the rial which lost nearly two-thirds of its value after US President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and announced the most restrictive sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Dozens of people were arrested for disrupting the forex and gold coins market, including a man and his accomplices who had hoarded two tonnes of gold coins over several months in order to manipulate the market.

The sharp drop in the rial’s value prompted a registration flurry of new companies which received government dollars at concessionary prices for imports but sold them at inflated rates in the black market. 

Facing comprehensive and crippling economic US sanctions, Iran has sought to eliminate economic and legal barriers preventing domestic production.

Washington imposed the sanctions in 2018 after withdrawing from the multilateral 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The White House has sought to continuously reinforce existing sanctions with additional bans in an attempt to downgrade Tehran’s economic prospects.

Iran has, however, been able to weather the brunt of the sanctions by diversifying its once highly oil-dependent economy and turning to domestic production initiatives.

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