Iran Orders Death As Crackdowns Begin

According to the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran executed a man by hanging on Thursday for blocking a street in Tehran and injuring a security guard with a knife. This was the first hanging related to recent anti-government unrest.

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One of the biggest threats to the Islamic Republic since it was founded in 1979 can be seen in the nationwide demonstrations that broke out following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, on September 16.

On Monday, the Revolutionary Guards urged the judiciary to swiftly and decisively pronounce judgments against those accused of “crimes against the security of the nation and Islam” as the authorities continued to repress the protests. The executed man was identified as Mohsen Shekari by the Tasnim news agency, but no other information was provided.

Shekari appears in a video allegedly released by state media making his purported confession and sporting a bruise on his right cheek. He admitted to using a knife to staba Basij militiaman and blocking a road with one of his friends’ motorcycles. According to rights organizations, Shekari was tortured and made to confess.

In “sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran,” Amnesty International claimed that Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 individuals. It stated that “the Iranian authorities must immediately revoke all death sentences, cease all efforts to impose the death penalty, and drop all allegations against those detained in connection with their peaceful protest participation.”

Iran has attributed the unrest to its adversaries abroad, including the US. Five defendants who were charged with the murder of Rouhollah Ajamian, a member of the Basij militia, were sentenced to death in a decision that they have the right to appeal, according to judicial spokesman Masoud Setayeshi on Tuesday.

Iran had seen an increase in executions even before the recent unrest. For the first time in five years, according to Volker Turk, the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations, the number this year reportedly exceeded 400 by the end of September.