Iran’s judiciary chief warned on Tuesday that the “economic saboteurs”, who he said were behind the fall of rial, would face severe punishment, including execution or 20 years in jail.
“The enemy is now trying to disrupt our economy through a psychological operation. In recent days some tried to shut down the Bazaar, but their plot was thwarted by the police,” Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
Tehran’s prosecutor Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi said some protesters near the bazaar were arrested on Monday and would not be released before going to trial.
The Iranian government is implementing new plans to control rising prices, including banning imports of over 1,300 products, preparing its economy to resist threatened U.S. sanctions.
Rouhani said the fresh U.S. sanctions were part of a “psychological, economic and political war”, adding that Washington would pay a high price for its actions.
“Withdrawal was the worst decision he (Trump) could make. It was appalling. It hurt America’s global reputation,” he said.
In late December, demonstrations which began over economic hardship spread to more than 80 Iranian cities and towns. At least 25 people died in the ensuing unrest, the biggest expression of public discontent in almost a decade.
Demonstrators initially vented their anger over high prices and alleged corruption, but the protests took on a rare political dimension, with a growing number of people calling on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.