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Court Starts With 13 Entrepreneurs For "Disturbing Economic Order"

Iran - Tehran - Revoloutionaty Court - Movahed

The hearing session for 13 people charged with importing mobile phones at the official exchange rate but selling them at free market prices began in a Tehran Revolutionary Court on September 1.

The hearing is presided by mid-ranking cleric Mohammad Movahed, head of Branch One of the Special Court for trying suspects recently charged with disturbing economic order.

Based on the indictment, the suspects are managing directors of companies who used millions of dollars at the official rate to buy mobile phones and sell them at free market prices.

Eight of the suspects profited up to 1.3 trillion rials (roughly $31 million) through the misuse of subsidized dollars, the prosecutor said.

On August 25, three other suspects charged with similar crimes. Mohammad Ghaleb Alamdari, Alireza Sanjari, and Sanabad Safariha were tried in the same court and will soon defend themselves in the following sessions.

The trials are underway, while Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has already published a list of companies that misused subsidized dollars to import mobile phones and sell them for much higher prices on the local market.

On August 11, it was reported that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had “approved a request by the judiciary to set up special courts to deal with economic and 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 Sadegh Amoli Larijani 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.

Fighting economic corruption has intensified during recent months in Iran and several “economic saboteurs” have recently been tried in Tehran, the official news agency, IRNA, reported on September 1.