The Iranians don't exactly embrace capitalism, but they solved a problem by obeying the ancient law of supply and demand.
It seems that cutting off the fingers of thieves the old fashioned way was messy. Iranian ingenuity came to the rescue and now the mullahs have a machine that cuts off the fingers of thieves. Quick, efficient, and ruthless.
Progress is their middle name:
One of Iran's official press agencies published photos showing the public amputation of a thief's fingers on Wednesday. These show a man getting his finger chopped off with a machine resembling a rotary saw.
WARNING: These images may shock viewers.
We contacted many of our Observers in Iran to ask them about this machine. Some of them had heard about it before, but many discovered its existence through these morbid photographs, which were reportedly taken on Thursday. According to the INSA press agency, the man shown getting his finger cut off was charged with robbery and adultery by a court in the southwestern city of Shiraz. He was also accused of being at the head of a criminal organisation. On top of losing one of his fingers, he was sentenced to three years in prison and 99 whip lashes.
No independent witnesses were able to recount the circumstances under which this amputation took place. Four photos of the scene published by the press agency were widely relayed on social media networks. Strangely enough, the man's face did not betray any signs of suffering in the photos, though it is possible that he might have been drugged.
Contacted by FRANCE 24, the spokesperson for Iran Human Rights, Mahmoud Amiry-Moghaddam, who is based in Norway, explains: "What is surprising about this is that not only was this a public amputation, but that photos of it were distributed by official press agencies, and that they showed a machine that we had until yet never seen images of. We have noticed that the authorities have recently being making more and more publicity surrounding cases of corporal punishment. Every time we get closer to an election, the number of these incidents increases. And we're getting quite close to the presidential election [slated for June]. I believe this is a strategy to instil fear in the population so as to avoid any protests.
Now if they could figure out how to apply hi-tech to stoning for adultery, or beheading - that would be a triumph for Islamic justice.