Iran executes man for killing IRGC member during 2017-18 protests

Execution comes weeks after Tehran sentenced to death a former opposition figure implicated in the same protests.

Iran has executed a man convicted of killing a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during deadly protests in 2017-2018, the judiciary’s news website reported.

“Mostafa Salehi, who had murdered martyr Guard Sajad Shahsanayi with a bullet during the riots of [December 2017-January 2018], was executed this morning upon the request of the victim’s family,” Mizan Online said on Wednesday.

The report said Salehi had shot at the security forces using a “hunting rifle”, killing Shahsanayi and wounding six others during a protest in Najafabad.

The protests had erupted – mainly over economic grievances – in December 2017 with hundreds of demonstrators taking to the streets in Iran’s second city Mashhad and several other towns.

Larger-scale protests followed in many cities, including capital Tehran, with authorities blocking access to online messaging services that were instrumental in organising the demonstrations.

Ali Rabiei, the current government spokesman who was then the labour minister, later said the unrest had spread to 160 cities across Iran. At least 21 people died during the violence, according to authorities.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had said at the time that “enemies have united and are using all their means” against Iran.

Prosecutor Mohammad Jafar Montazeri accused the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia of being behind the violence.

News of Salehi’s execution comes weeks after Iran sentenced to death a former opposition figure implicated in the same protests.

The IRGC announced the arrest of Ruhollah Zam in October last year, describing him as a “counter-revolutionary” who had been “directed by France’s intelligence service”.

Zam, who had been living in self-exile Paris, ran a channel on the now-blocked Telegram messaging application called Amadnews. He was accused of inciting violence during the unrest.

Iran does not publish official statistics on the number of people it has executed. London-based human rights group Amnesty International says the country executed at least 251 people last year.


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