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Iran court issues first death sentence in protest-related cases

Tehran, Iran – A Tehran court has handed down the first death sentence to a person involved in the ongoing protests in Iran and sentenced several others to prison.

The Iranian judiciary said Sunday night that an unidentified person has been sentenced to execution for “setting fire to a government center, disturbing public order and collusion to commit crimes against national security,” as well as “moharebeh” ( wage war against God) and “corruption on earth.”

Five more unidentified people, whom the authorities described as “rioters”, a word the government uses to describe the ongoing protests and those who participate in them, were sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison on security-related charges. national.

The judiciary said the sentences were preliminary and would need to be confirmed by an appeals court to be considered final and for details to be made public.

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The judiciary had previously said that more than 1,000 indictments have been issued in Tehran alone, with hundreds more filed against people arrested across the country.

The first public courts related to the protests were held in late October in Tehran, with prominent members of the political elite calling for speedy courts to punish “rioters” and deter further protests.

Last week, a majority of Iran’s parliament members also called on the judiciary to “deal decisively with the perpetrators of these crimes.” [the protests] and with all those who collaborated in the crimes and provoked rioters”.

The protests began in mid-September following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was detained in Tehran by the morality police for allegedly breaching the state-imposed dress code.

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Protests have continued amid ongoing internet restrictions, as the third anniversary of the November 2019 protests in the country approaches later this week.

Those protests erupted across Iran after gasoline prices tripled overnight and were accompanied by a total internet shutdown that lasted nearly a week.

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Zahedan Research

On Sunday, a delegation sent by the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, traveled to Zahedan, in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, to investigate the events that occurred on September 30, which left dozens dead.

On what is now known as “Bloody Friday”, at least 66 people, including children, were killed by live ammunition, according to Amnesty International, with other sources claiming the death toll is even higher.

Iranian authorities said “terrorists” opened fire on a police station, prompting security forces to respond.

But Abdolhamid Ismaeelzahi, the Sunni leader of Zahedan’s Friday prayer, has challenged that narrative, saying the responsibility lies with the authorities and security forces.

Ismaeelzahi was present during a meeting on Sunday with representatives of the supreme leader where, according to state-run IRNA, he again refuted the authorities’ version that the protesters were armed or stormed the police station.

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‘Another package of sanctions’

Iranian authorities have repeatedly accused the West, especially the United States and its regional ally Israel, of being behind the unrest in the country.

The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada have imposed human rights sanctions on Tehran, which has responded with its own sanctions.

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The EU is now preparing to end more sanctions on Monday, with the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell telling reporters that “another package of sanctions against people responsible for the repression of protesters” is in the works. .

Germany and Iceland last week submitted a request on behalf of 42 countries to hold a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Iran protests, prompting Tehran to condemn it and send a delegation to New York City. York.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday once again referred to the ongoing protests in Iran as a “revolution” days after meeting with several female activists, a move the Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced as “shameful.” ”.

“Something unprecedented is happening,” Macron said in an interview. “The grandchildren of the revolution are making a revolution.”

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Iran has also blamed Kurdish groups based in northern Iraq for inciting unrest, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday attacked positions and buildings used by Kurdish groups with missiles and drones.

A commander of the elite force had said on Sunday that more than 100 “anti-revolutionary” members of these groups have been arrested since September and have had firearms and ammunition confiscated.

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