Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Escalation of executions in Iran: Retaliatory behavior threatens to ignite street again

Monday 24/July/2023 - 10:09 PM
The Reference
Mohamed Shaat


The intensity of executions has escalated in Iran in recent months, as the death sentence was carried out against Iranian dissident Habib Asiod, who also held Swedish nationality, on charges of spreading corruption on earth, forming a rebel group, and planning and carrying out several terrorist operations, which are ready-made charges that Tehran attaches to opponents, whether at home or abroad.

According to Iranian reports, the sentence against Asiod, leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, was executed after the Iranian judiciary confirmed on March 12 the death sentence against him. The Mizan Online website, which is affiliated with the judiciary, stated that “the death sentence against Habib Chaab, known as Habib Asiod, the leader of the Struggle Movement, was carried out in early May.”

According to the Iranian judiciary, Asiod was “the main person in the terrorist attack at the military parade in September 2018,” in which at least 25 people were killed and 70 wounded, including a four-year-old child. Sweden criticized the death sentence, describing it as an inhumane punishment.


Ignoring international calls

Despite successive international condemnations of Asiod’s execution, Iran continues to carry out death sentences against demonstrators, as the Iranian judiciary announced the execution of three men who were convicted of killing members of the security forces during demonstrations in the country last year, namely Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaqoubi.

The execution of the death sentences against the three demonstrators came despite calls from the United States to stop the executions and a warning against continuing to carry out unfair sentences in light of trials that have been described as a “sham”. Vedant Patel, deputy spokesman for the US State Department, said, “The execution of these men – after what have been widely regarded as sham trials – would be an affront to human rights and basic dignity in Iran and everywhere.”

According to the estimates of international human rights organizations, death sentences were carried out against dozens of people within weeks. Human Rights Watch considered that continuing to accelerate the pace of executions in Iran constitutes a serious violation of the right to life, and it called for international condemnation of the Iranian regime, noting that the charge of “apostasy” directed by the Iranian regime against opponents does not warrant the death penalty according to international law.


Retaliatory behavior

The behavior of the Iranian regime comes within the framework of retaliation against the demonstrators who participated in protests that lasted for months after the killing of Iranian Kurdish girl Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained in a morality police station under the pretext of “improper hijab”, which caused angry reactions at home and abroad.

Tehran is seeking to contain any protest movements at the present time by implementing death sentences to sow terror in the hearts of Iranian citizens, at the same time that it is seeking to reformulate its relations with the countries of the region, which may affect foreign support for protest movements in the country.

Iran's excessive execution behavior indicates the Iranian regime's unwillingness to contain the protest movements at home or to seek internal reforms to absorb popular anger, especially in light of the poor economic conditions experienced by the Iranian people, in addition to targeting non-Persian nationalities that represent a weight in the Iranian street.

It is expected that the Iranian regime's disregard of popular demands and the restoration of the home front will cause a popular explosion again after the intensity of the protests subsided, especially after the emergence of signs of protest after the implementation of the recent death sentences against the demonstrators, as protest gatherings began again in areas in Tehran, where slogans against the Iranian regime were chanted.

The popular protests have received support from international human rights organizations, as the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Iran set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council said in a statement that it was “deeply alarmed at the continuing executions of protesters […] convicted and sentenced through confessions obtained under torture.”