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Iran says it carried out second execution over protests

December 12, 2022

The execution comes as authorities struggle to put an end to mass anti-regime protests that have challenged the authority of the country's clerical establishment.

Majid Reza Rahnavard was hanged in public
Majid Reza Rahnavard was hanged in public, the second execution of people involved in anti-government protests in less than a weekImage: UGC

Iran said on Monday it had executed a second prisoner detained amid the ongoing nationwide protests that are challenging the nation's Islamic clerical leadership. 

The protester, Majidreza Rahnavard, had been convicted of killing two members of the security forces, the Iranian judiciary's Mizan news agency said.

He had also been convicted of "moharebeh" — or waging "war against God," a charge that carries the death penalty under Iran's Shariah or Islamic law.

More EU sanctions on Iran?

Rahnavard's execution comes less than a month after he allegedly carried out the fatal stabbings.

Rights groups say that at least a dozen other protesters detained by authorities in recent weeks are facing a similar fate.

Iranian authorities carried out the first execution linked to the ongoing protests last week. Activists have said Mohsen Shekari, 23, was tortured and forced to confess.

The hanging drew international condemnation. EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the situation in Iran on Monday. They are expected to authorize more sanctions on Tehran for human rights violations. 

Is Iran's morality police about to be disbanded?

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the executions were an attempt to intimidate protesters and critics of the Iranian government. She added that the latest EU sanctions would target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  

"With this sanctions package, we are targeting in particular those who are responsible for the executions, the violence against innocent people," she told reporters as she arrived for the meeting with her EU counterparts in Brussels.

"These are especially the Revolutionary Guards but also those who — with forced videos — try to intimidate people or punish them."

Will there be more executions?

Iran has seen mass anti-regime protests since the death of a young Kurdish woman, the 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini, in the custody of "morality police," who had arrested her for allegedly not wearing the hijab, or Islamic head scarf, appropriately.

The demonstrations have proven to be one of the biggest challenges the Islamic Republic has faced since the 1979 revolution that ousted the Shah and brought Ayatollah Khomeini — and his successor Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — to power.

Authorities blame the protests on foreign interference and have carried out a violent crackdown — yet, they have struggled to put an end to the demonstrations.

Rights groups say almost 500 people have died in clashes with security forces, while about 18,000 protesters have been arrested so far. At least 11 of them have been convicted of "war against God."

sri/rt (AP, AFP, Reuters)