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Iran's Friday Prayer Leaders Praise Execution Of Gold Traders, Warn Others

Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday Prayer ceremony in Tehran, January 5, 2018

Several clergymen leading Friday Prayers in Iran have praised the execution of two gold and currency dealers in their sermons on November 16 and urged the authorities to continue their tough policy.

Two dealers arrested late September after the Iranian currency rial suffered huge losses this year, were hanged on November 14, in what was seen as an unusually short legal process. Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Ismail Ghasemi were accused of "disrupting the economic system".

Friday Prayer Leaders of Tehran and many other cities praised the judicial authorities for their decisive approach and warned others not to "wage war against God", which is considered the most serious crime in the Islamic Republic.

Prayer Leaders (Emam Jome'e) are chosen from the ranks of clergy loyal to Iran's Supreme Leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei and usually echo policies heralded from the top.

Rights group Amnesty International immediately condemned the execution, calling it "abhorrent" and said it followed a "grossly unfair show trial".

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi has also condemned the decision, calling the fast-track trial "illegal" and accusing Iran of trying to pacify its people who are angry with the country's deteriorating economic situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei ordered judicial authorities on August 11 to prosecute people suspected of "financial corruption" and demanded verdicts to be "carried out swiftly and justly."

Economists have warned that strong-arm tactics targeting businessmen can only have a short-term restraining impact on preventing devaluation of the Iranian currency.