Mass arrests in Iran, as Khamenei blesses 'corruption clampdown'
Mass arrests have taken place in Iran over the past weeks in an apparent "corruption clampdown", as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenai blesses the establishment of revolutionary courts to deal with the accused.
More than 100 government officials have been handed travel bans and 67 people detained, Justice Ministry spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie said on Sunday, according to the judiciary-linked Mizan news agency.
"Our enemy America has decided to put pressure on people and it intends to put our economy under pressure, but to no avail," Ejeie said, according to AFP.
"There are individuals who try to use this opportunity and hoard basic goods and increase pressure on people by hoarding and smuggling."
It comes a day after Khamenei approved a request from the head of the judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, to set up special revolutionary courts to try those arrested for economic crimes.
"The goal is that the punishment of convicts of economic corruption be carried out urgently and justly," Khamenei said.
It also coincides with a time of economic doldrums for Iran, with serious unrest sparked by the current financial hardships.
This month, the US re-imposed sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew from a "disastrous" nuclear deal, which has already shown signs of damaging the Iranian economy.
Iran's rial has skyrocketed, while high inflation and unemployment have caused anger on the streets.
Violent scenes have been witnessed across Iran, as people voice their anger at the mismanagement of the country's economy.
The government has attempted to stave off criticism of the country's top leadership by laying blame at "corrupt officials".
The head of the central bank was sacked earlier this month, while his deputy in charge of foreign exchange was also arrested.
In April the government claimed that politically-connected importers were hoarding the cheap dollars or selling them on the black market.
Iran's conservative leadership have opposed closer ties with the west and seen as increasingly isolated in recent years, due to the growing power of moderates in the regime.
Conservatives have frequently used corruption clampdowns to justify their rule and weaken political rivals.
Many of those arrested in recent corruption raids are moderates and liberals, some with links to President Hassan Rouhani.
The anti-corruption clampdown has been viewed by some as an attempt to undermine the president, who ushered in a new era of dialogue with the west before Trump's election in the US.
Agencies contributed to this story.