Iran Supreme Leader Calls for ‘Swift, Just’ Legal Action to Face ‘Economic War’, Water Shortage

Iran Supreme Leader Calls for 'Swift, Just' Legal Action to Face 'Economic War'

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a statement in response to the country’s judiciary chief’s stance on financial crimes and corruption in Iran.

“The current special economic conditions are considered an economic war,” judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani said in a letter to Khamenei, calling for creating special courts to tackle financial crimes, state television reported.

Khamenei responded, saying that the courts should be aimed at punishing those guilty of corruption “quickly and fairly.”

Iran Supreme Leader Calls for 'Swift, Just' Legal Action to Face 'Economic War', water shortage

The statements came amid a public protest against high cost of living in the country and alleged corrupt financial practices.

The combination of financial hardship and an apparent political crisis have sparked sporadic anti-corruption demonstrations across the nation, according to Reuters reports.

Over the past few weeks, record temperatures, power outages, and water shortages, along with a 50 percent rise in the price of some food items, have triggered scattered protests.

One person was killed, and 20 others detained in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, in a protest on Aug. 3. In a nearby town, about 500 people used stones and bricks to smash the windows of a seminary and tried to set the building on fire, local media reported.

The new sanctions ban purchases of U.S. dollars by Iran and prevent the trade of gold, metals, and automobiles. Their mere prospect has fueled a record crash in the value of the rial, down 70 percent since May.
Government attempts to stabilize the currency by pegging it at a set rate to the dollar backfired and ended up speeding its decline. The real pain, however, will hit in November, when the U.S. reimposes sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, the economy’s lifeblood, in a bid to bring the country back to the table to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear accord.

The looming water crisis in Iran is “much more severe” than what has already been predicted, the head of Islamic Republic’s Department of Environment (DoE) and deputy President, Isa Kalantari has said, warning, “There will be no water in Iran within less than fifty years”.

The Islamic Republic authorities have repeatedly warned over the shortage of water, in recent years. In fact, water can run out sooner than Iran’s oil reserves.

According to the Minister of Interior, Abdor-Reza Rahmani Fazli, there had been at least twenty cases of protest rallies held over the shortage of water in past five months across Iran.

However, the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei believes that all these uprisings are provoked by “foreign enemies”, i.e. Israel, Saudi Arabia and US.

Iran fired a short-range anti-ship missile last week as part of the short notice naval exercise it held near the Strait of Hormuz, according to two U.S. officials. Earlier this week the top U.S. commander in the Middle East said the Iranian naval exercise was intended to send a message to the U.S. about the resumption of economic sanctions against Iran.

According to a U.S. official an anti-ship version of the Fatah-110 short range ballistic missile was fired from land in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz and landed in the waters of the Persian Gulf. The Fatah-110 missile has a maximum range of 125 miles.

The missile launch by Iran, first reported by Fox News, was the first time this year that Iran has fired a ballistic missile of any type.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. Central Command told reporters earlier this week that he believed the Iranian exercise was intended to send a message to the U.S. about the resumption of economic sanctions against Iran.

Leaders from the five Caspian Sea states — Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan — will meet Aug. 12 to sign an agreement on the body of water’s legal status, according to an Aug. 10 statement from the Kremlin.

Why It Matters: The agreement will likely have implications for everything from maritime borders to fishing rights and the use of the Caspian Sea’s energy resources.

Background: The agreement comes after more than two decades of negotiations over whether the Caspian Sea should be legally recognized as a lake rather than a sea.

Mary Greeley News