Anti-government protests renewed in cities across Iran over the weekend after three Iranians who took part in protests last year were executed by authorities on Friday.
Saleh Mirehashemi, Majid Kazemi, and Saeed Yaqoubi were executed after being arrested for taking part in the November shooting of two Basij paramilitary force members and a law enforcement officer in Isfahan amid nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.
Amini was killed while in the custody of Tehran "Morality Police" after allegedly breaking hijab rules last September.
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, despite the three having been arrested for allegedly killing the Basij members and police officer, a court verdict made public by their families showed that the death sentence was issued for "waging war against God," a charge usually used against political dissidents.
At least seven Iranians who took part in the protests last year have been executed by Iranian authorities, according to opposition-affiliated media. Over 500 demonstrators were shot and killed during the protests.
Protesters gathered in Tehran, Karaj, Zahedan, Mashhad, Abdanan and Isfahan, among other locations, on Friday and Saturday. Footage reportedly from the protests shared by the 1500tasvir account and opposition-affiliated media showed protesters chanting "Death to the dictator," "We will resist until the end," "Islamic government, the killer of every Iranian" and "If we don't unite, we will be killed one by one," among other slogans.
Last September, anti-government protests broke out across Iran after Mahsa Amini was murdered by "Morality Police" in Tehran. At the end of December and early January, the rate of protests began to decline, with only sporadic footage of protests published throughout January and February.
Iran increased executions by 75% in 2022
The Islamic Republic of Iran increased its execution rate by 75% in 2022 compared to 2021 with a view toward spreading fear among a restive Iranian population that has staged protests against Tehran's rulers, according to a report by the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and France's Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM).
The report noted that “At least 582 people were executed, an increase of 75% compared to 2021. In 2022, Iran’s authorities demonstrated how crucial the death penalty is to instill societal fear in order to hold onto power."
Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.