Iran: Second execution provokes more EU sanctions – Politics

Iran: Second execution provokes more EU sanctions – Politics

The Iranian regime continues to rely on the greatest brutality and has had a second participant in the street protests executed. 23-year-old Mashid Reza Rahnaward was publicly hanged in the pilgrimage city of Mashad on Monday. In a more than dubious legal process, he was found guilty of the “war against God” and sentenced to death by hanging – a standard formulation for resistance to the Islamist regime in Tehran. It brands the mostly young demonstrators as “terrorists” who would have let themselves be bought by enemy states such as the United States or European governments in order to cause unrest and damage the Islamic Republic.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced a new “very tough package of sanctions” because of the executions Iran on. It is to be adopted during a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday. The punishments should hit those who are responsible for “these incredible crimes”, above all the Revolutionary Guards, said Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on the sidelines of the meeting. She slammed the use of the death penalty without a fair trial as a “blatant attempt at intimidation” by the regime.

A well-known musician was executed, others are charged

According to the state news agency IRNA, the man executed on Monday is said to have attacked and killed two of the hated paramilitary Basij militia officers during the November protests. The young man’s execution is the second of a participant in the anti-regime demonstrations that have been going on since mid-September. Almost 500 demonstrators have died in the riots so far, including 44 minors and children, according to Amnesty International. Dozens of police officers and basij were also killed.

Mohsen Shekari was hanged last Thursday. The rap musician is also said to have attacked a Basij militiaman during a street protest and was sentenced to death for “war against God”. At least three other well-known musicians, who are also charged, are threatened with the same fate. A total of at least 20 demonstrators are currently on the execution list. The Iranian judiciary is notorious for its numerous death sentences. Confessions of the accused are almost always extracted under torture, and they usually do not have access to freely chosen lawyers.

In the case of the current protests, the lack of rule of law is more than obvious. The judiciary and several regime representatives had publicly asked the courts to sentence protesters harshly and quickly. International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International (AI) have been criticizing the Iranian judiciary for decades and unsuccessfully suing for the rule of law. According to AI, the trial and death sentence against rapper Schekari is an “unfair sham trial”. Iranian criminal law is heavily based on Sharia, the Islamic law that the mullah regime uses to justify the charge of “war against God.”

The nationwide protest movement emerged on September 16 after the 22-year-old Mahsa Amini had died in Tehran in the custody of so-called virtue guards. The regime claims that the Iranian Kurd has died of heart failure. However, there are many indications that after being arrested by the vice police, who until recently were still on public patrol, she suffered brain injuries from beatings in the police station, from which she succumbed three days later in the hospital. Mahsa Amini was arrested for allegedly wearing a loose headscarf “indecently”.

With shot and baton against the smallest crowds of people

Since the beginning of the protests, the regime has been extremely tough on the mostly young demonstrators. They are very often led by young women who have publicly removed their headscarves and have made the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom” their rallying cry and commitment. The opponents of the regime rely on decentralized protests, because the regime uses batons and shotgun ammunition against even the smallest gatherings of people.

The only concession made by the state leadership so far has been to remove the guardians of virtue, who are particularly hated by Iranian women, from the streets. However, it is unclear whether the moral police should really be abolished, as the Iranian Attorney General had claimed. So far, there has been no official statement from the regime. Abolishing it is likely to quickly lead to calls for the complete end of the headscarf requirement and the other regulations with which Tehran has been massively restricting the rights of Iranian women for decades, citing Sharia law. Country experts assume that the government camp, which has broken up into many factions, is divided on the issue.

However, the hardliners around the spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have unlimited say. And the calls for reforms from the camp loyal to the regime have so far been manageable. What caused a stir, however, was that a daughter and a niece of Khamenei publicly distanced themselves from his politics and sided with the protesters. Former President Mohammad Chatami, who is known as a reformer, also advocated approaching the protesters.

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