Iran Conducts First Protest-Related Execution

On Thursday, Iran announced its first-known execution of a prisoner convicted of an alleged crime during the ongoing nationwide protests.

Iran Conducts First Protest-Related Execution
Image credit: AP file [Via NBC]

Facts

  • On Thursday, Iran announced its first-known execution of a prisoner convicted of an alleged crime during the ongoing nationwide protests.
  • The man, whom Iranian media identified as Mohsen Shekari, was arrested after allegedly blocking Sattar Khan Boulevard in the capital, Tehran, on Sept. 25 and injuring a security guard with a machete. On Nov. 20, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict against him for "waging war against God."
  • According to Amnesty International, Iranian authorities have sought the death penalty for at least 21 people in connection with the protests. Tehran claims that the demonstrations, in which at least 458 people are believed to have been killed, are fueled by foreign forces.
  • The anti-government protests, which turned into demands for regime change, began in mid-September after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was detained by the morality police for violating the hijab law and died in custody. More than 18K people are believed to have been arrested since the protests erupted.
  • Meanwhile, in one of the largest general strikes in decades, businesses have reportedly been closed in Tehran, Isfahan, and many other cities in recent days. The nationwide strikes are said to signal the next phase of protests calling for an end to clerical rule in the country.
  • On Tuesday, former Iranian Pres. Mohammad Khatami expressed his support for the protest movement, saying that its slogan, "Woman, Life, Freedom," shows that Iranian society is moving toward a better future. He also criticized the arrests of students amid the security forces' crackdown.

Sources: Al Jazeera, DW, CNN, Independent, New York Times, and France24.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Tehran Times. In condemning Tehran's crackdown, the West is once again exercising double standards. No government in the world would stand idly by while rioters destroy public property and terrorists masquerading as protesters randomly target security forces. Moreover, the majority of the Iranian population refuses to join the protests, which are being fueled by the hypocritical West to destabilize Iran and instigate a civil war like in Syria.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Jerusalem Post. Only an illegitimate and inhumane government like the theocratic regime in Tehran kills people who take to the streets for legitimate causes. In the past, the international community turned a blind eye as Tehran mass executed its own citizens. This time, the West can no longer remain silent, given the ruthlessness of the Islamists who rule Iran. It's no longer a matter of reforming the existing regime but of regime change.

Predictions