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Iran Government Vows to Execute More Protesters

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets with families of the security forces killed during Iran's protests, in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 9, 2022. (Presidential Website/WANA/Handout via Reuters)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi meets with families of the security forces killed during Iran's protests, in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 9, 2022. (Presidential Website/WANA/Handout via Reuters)

One day after announcing the execution of an anti-government protester, Iranian state media said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other government officials pledged to continue to crack down on unrest in the country despite widespread condemnation from the West.

On Thursday, Iranian state media reported that 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari was hanged that morning after being convicted of blocking a street and attacking a security force member in Tehran.

Iranian courts have issued at least 10 death sentences for people arrested in connection with the protests, but Shekari was the first person executed.

Several nations responded by announcing additional sanctions against Iran, including Britain and Australia.

The United States and Canada said in a joint statement Friday that they “have taken coordinated sanctions actions against Iranian officials connected to human rights abuses, including those committed as part of the ongoing brutal crackdown aimed at denying the Iranian people their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Germany condemned the execution and summoned Iran’s ambassador in Berlin. European diplomats said the European Union is prepared to finalize additional sanctions on Iran when foreign ministers meet Monday in Brussels.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Tuerk told reporters in Geneva on Friday he found the execution to be "very troubling and clearly designed to send a chilling effect to the rest of the protesters.”

Iranian officials dismissed the Western criticism as hypocrisy, double standards and interference, and vowed to continue dealing with protesters as they have.

Iran’s IRNA news service reported that Raisi, speaking Friday at a ceremony honoring security forces killed during protests, said, "The identification, trial and punishment of the perpetrators of the martyrdom [killing] of security forces will be pursued with determination."

The news service also quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying “rioters and perpetrators of violence and terrorism will be judged according to the country's judicial law.”

Social media posts indicate protests in Iran continued Friday, with video showing protesters taking to the street where Shekari was arrested, shouting, "They took away our Mohsen and brought back his body."

Another video showed people lighting candles Friday night in front of Shekari’s home.

Hamed Esmaeilion, an Iranian Canadian activist who has organized mass protests in Berlin, Paris and other cities, said more demonstrations would be held this weekend.

He wrote on his Twitter account, “Regardless of belief and ideology, let's join these gatherings in protest against the brutal execution of #MohsenShekari."

The civil unrest in Iran was triggered by the September death of an Iranian Kurdish woman, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country’s morality police for not wearing her hijab properly.

A sister of Iran’s supreme leader has condemned the crackdown on protesters and called on the Revolutionary Guard to stand down, according to a letter published by her son in France.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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