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Iran: German, French envoy summoned after EU slams execution

December 13, 2020

Iran has summoned the German and French ambassadors to Tehran over EU statements condemning the hanging of dissident reporter Ruhollah Zam. Zam was accused of fomenting unrest and inspiring nationwide economic protests.

Hans-Udo Muzel
German Ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel was summoned by the Iranian Foreign MinistryImage: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Gebert

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the ambassadors of Germany and France in protest at statements condemning Tehran's execution of a journalist convicted of inspiring anti-government protests, Iranian state media said.

In a statement after the announcement of the hanging of Ruhollah Zam on Saturday, the EU said it condemned the execution in the "strongest terms" and said it remained opposed to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances. Germany currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry's Europe director told Ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel that the statement was "an unacceptable interference in Iran's domestic affairs," according to the state news agency IRNA.

Ruhollah Zam
Ruhollah Zam had been living in FranceImage: Tasnim

France also in the firing line

IRNA also reported that the head of the French Embassy in Tehran had been summoned. Zam had been granted political asylum in France and was living there, but was apparently seized in Iraq by Iranian authorities while traveling. France's Foreign Ministry called the execution "a barbarous and unacceptable act" and a "grave blow" to freedom of speech in Iran.

Zam, 47, had been sentenced to death in June after a "corruption on Earth" conviction — a term often used to denote charges involving espionage or efforts to overthrow the Iranian government. He was hanged on Saturday, according to Iranian state television.

Zam's website AmadNews and Telegram channel had provided information on the timing of nationwide anti-government protests starting in late December 2017 that were sparked by a sudden jump in food prices. Zam also was said to have helped spread embarrassing information about officials within Iran's Shiite theocracy.

tj/rc (AP, AFP)