Iran arrests 16 'main players' in currency crisis
October 5, 2012 -- Updated 0032 GMT (0832 HKT)
- Iran arrests 16 "players" in currency freefall
- They "amassed illegal fortunes" through black market currency trading, Iran says
- The country also arrested "agitators" from protests, including two Europeans
- U.S. Secretary of State Clinton says the sanctions' goal is to get Iran to negotiate "in good faith"
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran arrested 16 people Thursday, accusing them of contributing to the currency crisis plaguing the country that has triggered protests in the streets.
Those arrested "were the main players in the recent fluctuations in the foreign currency market," the Tehran Judiciary said in a statement.
The move came a day after riot police worked to disperse protests in the capital's main bazaar and nearby streets. Demonstrators chanted slogans opposing firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and decrying the skyrocketing cost of basic goods.
Some "agitators" and two European tourists who were gathering information about the protests were arrested Wednesday, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
Read more: Family of Iranian who defected is out of Iran, hiding for safety, attorney says
What's causing Iran's currency woes?
Iran's plummeting rial sparks outrage
The rial's plummet to historic lows is the result of international sanctions, imposed largely by the United States and the European Union in an effort to pressure Iran to sit down for talks on its nuclear program.
"Our goal has been and remains to persuade the Iranian regime to negotiate seriously in good faith with the international community over its nuclear program, to fulfill its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency and to the United Nations and to do so expeditiously," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.
Read more: Iranian jury finds Reuters guilty of lies in 'ninjas' report
Ahmadinejad and the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have assailed the sanctions, insisting "the enemy" will fail in its efforts and is hurting the Iranian people rather than the government.
But the protesters Wednesday made clear their anger with the president. The bazaar closed, but was open and apparently back to normal on Thursday, with only a few shops still closed.
Read more: Iran's news agency portrays satirical Onion story as its own
Ahmadinejad, in a speech this week, also said blamed "22 ringleaders" who the country's intelligence services have determined are causing tension and manipulating currency.
While he gave no details, people who trade currency on the black market have been increasingly concerned about a crackdown by Iranian forces.
The government did not identify the 16 arrested Thursday. In a written statement, the judiciary said they "had used an atmosphere of psychological war created by the enemy" and colluded with "certain domestic and foreign groups" to exacerbate conditions."
They traded extensively in "smuggled" currencies "outside of the banking network" in order to increase the value of foreign currencies and disturb the public, the judiciary claimed, adding that they "amassed illegal fortunes."
One of the accused had $300 million going through a bank account, the statement said.
Iran warned that others "are being accused as well and will be dealt with soon."
CNN's Shirzad Bozorgmehr reported from Tehran; CNN's Josh Levs reported from Atlanta
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories