As food prices soar to hyperinflation levels in Iran, authorities resort to arrests and trials of merchants, trying to slow down the process and to show the public they are confronting the crisis.
A lawsuit related to meat has been filed for the first time in Iranian capital city, Tehran, the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Saturday, February 23.
The lawsuit has been filed in "Specials Branches" court exclusively established to combat financial corruption, ISNA cited Tehran Prosecutor-General, Abbas Ja'fari Dolatabadi, as saying.
Four people “involved in providing and distributing meat have been arrested and their cases are in the primary stages of the investigation", Ja'fari Dolatabadi disclosed.
Meanwhile, he insisted that news concerning beef prices should be "managed", otherwise people will be worried.
The comments are published at a time that the price of beef has skyrocketed across Iran, despite repeated promises by authorities to control it.
Food prices have risen up to 90 percent in one year, according to official figures, while anecdotal information points to a much higher rate of inflation.
Last August, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a request by the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani, to set up special courts to deal with financial crimes.
The judiciary said last month that 29people have been detained for "disturbing" the nation's economy and its "money and currency systems.” Three people have been executed for “manipulating” the markets.
Iran’s currency has plunged four-fold in a year, following a decision in May 2018 by U.S. President Donald Trump to leave the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose tough sanctions.
Iran’s central bank and the judiciary have blamed "enemies" for the fall of the currency.
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.
The authorities have been keen to show they are cracking down on "economic disruptors" accused of exploiting shortages and fluctuations in gold and currency prices.
Dozens have been tried and last November a trader dubbed the "Sultan of Coins", and his accomplice were executed for exploiting a surge in gold demand.