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These actions against the country's economic order are punishable by execution-if found to be on the level of 'corruption on earth"-or up to 20 years in prison and the confiscation of all possessions", he said in a speech to judicial officials in Tehran on June 26.

This week's protests against rapidly deteriorating economic conditions are the first such confrontation between demonstrators and police since similar unrest rocked the country late previous year.

The warning followed demonstrations and a rare strike at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, as Iranians protested their country's dire economic situation.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has pursued an aggressive new sanctions regime against Iran since withdrawing from the nuclear deal last month.

Industries and trade minister Mohammad Shariatmadari slapped the import ban on 1,339 goods that could instead be produced within the country, Iran's Financial Tribune newspaper reported on Monday, quoting an official document. It sank as low as 90,000 against the dollar in the unofficial market on Monday from 87,000 on Sunday and around 75,500 last Thursday, according to foreign exchange website Bonbast.com.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said that now the United States was "not granting waivers" to any country which was in business with Iran.

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The official rate set by the Central Bank of Iran is now about 42,500 rials to the dollar, but the rate on the street was closer to 100,000 rials as of June 25.

Those penalties are expected to reduce the country's hard currency earnings from oil exports, prompting public panic in Iran.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday that the Middle East and the entire world would face a "dreadful" future if the key nuclear agreement fell apart.

The United States is pushing foreign countries to cut their oil imports from Iran to zero by November, a senior State Department official said Tuesday, as the Trump administration escalates its bid to pressure Iran after pulling out of the nuclear deal.

Nayara Energy - owned by Russian oil giant Rosneft - is also reportedly planning to scale back its Iranian oil imports.

Risk consultancy Eurasia Group said it was "very unlikely" the United States would succeed in ending Iranian oil sales as fast as it hoped. "I think the predisposition would be, "No, we're not granting waivers", the official said. "We must neutralize the plans of the enemy for an economic war and psychological operations". Sources here said re-insurance for Iranian crude is also drying up. Oil prices in the US increased more than 3.5 percent as the news hit the market.


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