'Sultan of coin' and his accomplice executed in Iran

'Sultan of Coins' Executed for Hoarding Tons of Gold

They had been sentenced to death by a special court set up in August to confront profiteering and corruption in the wake of new United States sanctions on Iran.

Iran executed a trader dubbed the "Sultan of Coins" and his accomplice on Wednesday for exploiting a surge in gold demand from savers spooked by this year's currency crisis.

The rial currency has lost about 70 percent of its value in 2018 under the threat of revived U.S. sanctions, with heavy demand for dollars and gold coins on the unofficial market from ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.

The 58-year-old Mazloumin was arrested in July for hoarding 2 tons of gold coins.

Amnesty International condemned the "abhorrent executions", saying Iranian authorities "flagrantly violated international law" by executing the men for non-lethal crimes.

The second man was part of Mazloumin's network and had been involved in the sale of gold coins, Mizan reported.

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Vahid Mazloumin and his accomplice Mohammad Esmaeil Qassemi were put to death in prison on Wednesday morning after the country's Supreme Court upheld their death sentences and the legal process was completed.

Many Iranians have stocked up on gold coins and other safe haven investments as the rial has plummeted this year to 135,000 to the dollar from last year's rate of around 40,500.

A second co-defendant, Hamid Bagheri-Dermani, was also accused of corruption and sentenced to death at the original trial.

The sanctions target Iran's purchase of USA dollars, its trade in gold and other precious metals as well as its automotive and aviation sectors.

"These men were convicted after a grossly unfair show trial that was broadcast on state television", he said, adding that worldwide law forbids the death penalty for non-lethal crimes.

The cost of living has also soared, provoking sporadic demonstrations against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans.

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