Iran executes first anti-government protester

According to the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran hanged a man on Thursday for wounding a security guard with a knife and blocking a thoroughfare in Tehran, the first such execution since recent anti-government protests.

The nationwide protests that erupted on September 16 following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini reflect one of the republic’s most serious crises since 1979.

Authorities have been cracking down on rallies, and the Revolutionary Guards urged the judiciary on Monday to render prompt and severe judgments against individuals guilty of “crimes against the security of the nation and Islam.”

The Tasnim news agency identified the executed individual as Mohsen Shekari but provided no further information.

According to Amnesty International, Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in “fake trials aimed to terrify those engaged in Iran’s popular revolt.”

“The Iranian authorities must immediately vacate all death sentences, cease from seeking the death penalty, and withdraw all charges against anyone arrested in connection with peaceful protests,” it urged.

Western nations have also raised concern over Iran’s high number of executions.

Iran has blamed the upheaval on foreign opponents, notably the US.

Masoud Setayeshi, a spokesman for the judiciary, revealed on Tuesday that five people charged in the death of a Basij militia member, Rouhollah Ajamian, had been sentenced to death in a judgment that they can appeal.

According to Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA, five suspected members of the Daesh militant group have been charged with “war against God” for their role in the October slaughter of Shi’ite pilgrims, a crime punishable by death.

Even before the latest turmoil, the number of executions in Iran has been increasing. According to Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, this year’s number topped 400 by September for the first time in five years.