Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this week attributed the current economic hardships in the country to “internal issues,” citing corruption and imprudent economic policies rather than to external sanctions.

Mr Khamenei, who has in the past warned of rising corruption, commended chief justice Sadeq Larijani for ordering the arrest of 100 officials accused of financial crime and banning them from leaving the country. Perpetrators of economic corruption should “be confronted with no compromise,” he says. Fresh claims of corruption came to the fore after currency reforms earlier this year led the Rial to lose half its value on the black market (MEES, 13 April). (CONTINUED - 104 WORDS)