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>> Iran's economy is facing a serious crisis this year. It had been struggling even before US sanctions. Now, tougher measures from Washington is only adding to the pain. As frustration grows, both on the streets and online, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved the establishment of special courts focused on financial crimes.
Two men receiving death sentences this week for economic corruption. Set up in August, Khamenei says the courts are needed to confront economic war by foreign enemies. Iran correspondent Babak Dehghanpisheh explains from Geneva.>> The idea here is to really focus in on economic crimes, focus in on people who have sort of violated the current, tried to take advantage of the current economic situation to make money for themselves.
And the courts have been handing out very serious punishments. Since it was set up in August, there have been at least seven death sentences that were handed out.>> Some trials have been broadcast live on television. The most famous of them was Vahid Mazloumin, dubbed the Sultan of Coins by local media.
>> As the charges go, he had hoarded or kept a lot of gold coins in order to manipulate the currency market. And so he was given a death sentence. And the idea behind these courts, it seems to be, from the authorities, is essentially to prevent any corruption and prevent any actions that the businessmen, traders, officials, others could take that could destabilize the economy even further.
>> But the tough sentences have not been enough to shut down frustration. The economic situation is deteriorating and, as one Iranian analyst put it, people are looking for someone to blame.>> Serious sanctions->> Washington is likely to welcome signs of pressure on Iran's political and religious establishment.
Trump hopes by squeezing the economy, it can force Tehran to curb its nuclear program and row back on military and political expansion in the Middle East.