Iran hangs dissidents


Published in “Financial Times Deutschland” on January 28 2010
Source (German):

The leadership in Tehran knows no mercy. Two opposition supporters were hanged for participating in the anti-government protests, nine others are on death row. The next protests are already scheduled.

One month after the latest mass protests against the Iranian government, two participants in the demonstrations were hanged. The two men were charged with enmity against God, attempted overthrow and membership of armed opposition groups. This was reported by the Iranian news agency ISNA. Nine other dissidents have also been sentenced to death.

In December 2009 the protests against the government of Ahmadinejad flared up once more (photo: DPA)

The executions and verdicts show that the leadership in Tehran is attempting control the severe domestic crisis by relentless severity. The protests flared up again in the end of last year. On December 27, several people were killed in violent clashes of security forces and anti-government protesters.

According to ISNA, all 11 convicts had been arrested during the protests. Reportedly, they are affiliated with monarchist groups or the dissident organization of the People’s Mojahedin. The Iranian judiciary claims to distinguish between moderate opposition members who are against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while not questioning the Islamic system in general, and those who seek to overthrow the regime.

Following the protests against the disputed re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a wave of arrests started thoughout the country. Hundreds of protesters were arrested. Conservative Ali Larijani, the speaker of parliament, called for maximum penalty for the dissidents. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad held the West responsible for the unrest.

This matches the alleged arrest of two German citizens who are claimed to have participated in the demonstrations. Iran claims that they are diplomats – an allegation that the Federal Government has rejected.

These reports could be related to Germany’s plans to impose sanctions on Tehran. On the backdrop of the Iranian nuclear program, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had announced that Germany, if necessary, will enforce sanctions single-handedly in case the UN Security Council will not agree on tightened sanctions.

The showdown in Iran’s domestic policy might continue on 11. February, when Iran commemorates the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The opposition often uses official government events to take to the streets.

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