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All that glisters is not gold

You have to feel sorry for poor Vahid Mazloumi, who has just had his neck permanently stretched in Iran.

His offence was that of “corruption on earth”, which is a little vague and quite possibly something we are all guilty of.

The execution of Mazloumi, 58, was intended by the authorities as a warning signal to others. He had been a gold trader in Tehran for 30 years and was arrested in July for buying some gold – two tonnes, which is a lot of gold – and then selling it for a higher price. All pretty normal stuff, that’s what traders do.

Except that Mazloumi got his timing wrong. Iran’s economy is in dire straits and its currency, the rial, is wobbly. The rial traded at around 50,000/$1 earlier this year on the black market, and now trades at some 160,000/$1 now. Everyone wants dollars – or gold.

Mazloumi had been fine for 30 years. But you don’t come to the attention of the mullahs and get away with it today.

Picture source: Agnico Eagle