Protesting could have become the biggest crime in Iran after an Iranian man was executed on Monday for his involvement in the ongoing anti-hijab protest. It was the second execution in less than a week. Both victims were accused of “waging war against God.” Antigua news identified the latest man as Majid Reza Rahnavard, a 23-year-old Iranian athlete.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran executed Majid Reza Rahnavard,” Hengaw Organization for Human Rights wrote on Twitter. “He was arrested during the uprisings of Mechhed.”
“Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23 years old, an Iranian athlete and wrestler, was executed today in Mashhad in the presence of Basijis of the Islamic Republic for the crime of “Moharebeh”. Majid’s crime was only participating in public protests,” another Twitter user wrote.
Majid was arrested on November 19, and his trial began on November 29 – causing many to worry about the speedy nature of the process. According to reports, the Iranian judiciary denied him access to lawyers and deprived him of the right to defend himself.
Iranian State television shared footage of a man stabbing another man who had fallen to the ground. The assailant stabbed another man who had confronted him before fleeing with his team. The court said the assailant was Rahnavard. However, Antigua news could not verify the claim that the assailant was the same man that was killed on Monday.
The 23-year-old athlete was accused of killing two security officers and injuring four others while fleeing.
Last week, Antigua news reported the execution of Mohsen Sekari accused of “waging war against God.” It was the first known execution linked to the three months protest. The protest began on September 17 after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, died in the custody of the country’s morality police after accusations of not wearing the hijab properly.
A war against God or a war against the clerical rule?
The extent to which Iranians are “waging wars against God,” one would wonder if God is an Iranian. Dozens of Iranians have been sentenced to death in Iran as the government vows to crack down on the demonstrations decisively. Most of those sentenced to death were accused of “waging war against God.”
While explaining what it means in Iran to wage war against God, Masoud Setayesh, the spokesperson of the Iranian judiciary, said anyone using “cold or warm weapon with the intent of harming the life, possession or family of people or to terrorise them” might have committed the crime of “moharebeh” which means “waging war against God.”
Setayeshi warned that anyone found guilty of committing such a crime would face the death penalty.
If protesters are accused of “waging war against God,” what about the security officials that have killed hundreds of protesters? So far, at least 450 people have died in the three months protest, most of which are protesters. In all of these, the Iranian government continues to deny that its security forces opened fire on protesters and deliberately refused to cooperate with international investigations. So in Iran, it could be safe to say only the ordinary people are waging the war against God, while an attempt to challenge the status quo could be translated as fighting against an invincible God.
All rant but no action
The double executions in Iran have attracted condemnation from the international community, especially the west. Despite plenty of talks and unending criticisms, it appears that there is nothing the other side could do to stop or at least reduce the extreme punishment for peaceful protesters.
Following the execution of Mohsen Shekari last week, Amnesty International called on the international community to urgently take action to prevent further executions and not only condemn the acts with mere statements.
“Given that the Iranian authorities are adamant about continuing their killing spree, both on the streets and through sham trials, it falls on the international community to urgently take action to stop further executions. The international community must go beyond expressions of outrage and condemnation and take all necessary measures to pursue accountability for all officials including those in security, intelligence, prosecutorial and judicial positions involved in crimes under international law and other grave violations of human rights, including the right to life,” Diana Eltahawy of amnesty international said.
The group warned that at least 12 others will be executed by the government, and 6 others are undergoing trial for the same crime and could be killed as well.
In all of these, the West seems to be almost uninterested in what is happening in Iran, possibly because its interest is minimal or its hands are tied, and now there is another execution.
Hopefully, the world powers will find a way to compel Iran not to carry out other executions. If not, another execution will come in a few days.