Germany and France summon Iran envoys over executions of protesters

German FM says Iranian ‘oppression and terrorizing’ of population will have consequences; French FM issues ‘firmest condemnation’ of death sentences

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock attends a press conference at Lancaster House, in London, January 5, 2023. (Kin Cheung/AP)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock attends a press conference at Lancaster House, in London, January 5, 2023. (Kin Cheung/AP)

BERLIN, Germany — Germany and France on Monday summoned Iran’s envoys to Berlin and Paris in protest against Tehran’s deadly crackdown on demonstrations and the latest executions of anti-government protesters.

The Islamic Republic has been rocked by civil unrest since the September 16 death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

It has carried out four executions in connection with the demonstrations, sparking global outrage, and the Iranian judiciary on Monday said it had sentenced to death three more people accused of killing members of the security forces during protests.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters the Iranian ambassador had been called to her ministry “to make unmistakably clear that the brutal repression, the oppression, and the terrorizing of its own population, as well as the most recent two executions will not remain without consequence.”

The German minister said it was “key” that the European Union remain united and not “close our eyes” to human rights violations in other nations.

“We must not be resigned, but should make clear again and again that we stand by the people who want nothing but to live in freedom and security,” she said.

Iranian demonstrators chant slogans as they hold posters showing portraits of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during their protest in front of the French embassy in Tehran, Iran, January 8, 2023. (Vahid Salemi/ AP)

France’s foreign ministry said it was summoning the Iranian charge d’affaires “to convey our firmest condemnation of these executions and the current repression in Iran.”

It spoke after dozens of Iranians — most of them religious seminary students — gathered Sunday outside the French embassy in Tehran, protesting against cartoons of the Islamic republic’s supreme leader by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The magazine last week published caricatures of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in support of the protests in Iran.

“We followed with utmost attention the protest organized yesterday in front of the French embassy in Tehran, which was in no way spontaneous,” the French foreign ministry said.

On Saturday, Iran executed Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini for killing a paramilitary force member in November, in Karaj west of Tehran.

Two other men, Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, were put to death in December after being convicted of separate attacks on security forces.

Norway’s foreign ministry also said Monday it had summoned Iran’s ambassador to Oslo to express its disapproval.

Earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Saturday’s executions “appalling” and urged Iran to stop carrying out the death penalty “and to release those arrested on false grounds.”

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