Special courts set up in a drive against financial crime have sentenced three people to death in Iran, state television reported on Sunday, as the country faces renewed US sanctions and a public outcry against profiteering and corruption.
A judiciary official also warned truck drivers holding a nationwide strike over pay and high prices of “harsh penalties” if they continue their protests, state media said.
The special Islamic revolutionary courts were set up last month to try suspects quickly after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for “swift and just” legal action to confront an “economic war” by foreign enemies.
Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, quoted by state TV, said the courts handed down out death sentences to three defendants after convicting them of “spreading corruption on earth”, a capital offence under Iran’s Islamic laws.
Mohseni Ejei did not name the three but said the sentences could be appealed to the supreme court, the TV reported.
Mohseni Ejei said 32 other defendants were sentenced to jail terms of up to 20 years for economic crimes, the official news agency IRNA reported.
In May the United States pulled out of a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
The rial currency has lost about 70 percent of its value since April under the threat of revived US sanctions, with heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.
The cost of living has also soared, sparking sporadic demonstrations against profiteering and corruption, with many protesters chanting anti-government slogans.
Mohseni Ejei warned truck drivers who have continued their protests for higher wages and affordable parts despite several rounds of arrests.