Iran again summons UK, German envoys amid anti-regime protests

Western diplomats in Tehran called in 15 times in recent weeks over what officials say is ‘unprecedented pressure against Iran’

Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images)
File: Iranians protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the morality police, in Tehran, October 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Middle East Images, File)

TEHRAN — Iran on Saturday again called in the British ambassador, marking the 15th time in less than three months a foreign envoy has been summoned, as protests shake the country.

The foreign ministry called in British ambassador Simon Shercliff, a day after his German counterpart, Hans-Udo Muzel, had to appear, the state news agency IRNA said.

This brought to at least 15 times in about 10 weeks the number of times envoys, almost all from Western countries, have been summoned.

“This is a reaction of Iranian diplomacy to unprecedented pressure against Iran,” IRNA said.

Shercliff has now been summoned five times since the demonstrations sparked by the death of Kurdish-Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, 22.

She died in custody on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

US demonstrators carry a large photo of Mahsa Amini during a protest against the Iranian regime, in Los Angeles, on October 22, 2022, following the death of Amini in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s notorious “morality police.” (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

Iran calls the protests “riots” and says they have been encouraged by its foreign foes.

IRNA said the foreign ministry protested the United Kingdom’s support for “terror and unrest,” and the sanctions it has imposed.

On Friday the ministry summoned Muzel for the fourth time in the same span of time, IRNA said.

The ministry expressed “its utmost objection toward Germany’s unacceptable intervention,” after Berlin’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock criticized the “perfidious summary trial” which issued a death sentence against Mohsen Shekari.

Iran hanged him on Thursday in the first known execution connected with the protests.

He was convicted of blocking a street and wounding a paramilitary during the early phase of the protests.

Germany also summoned Iran’s ambassador, a diplomatic source said. Other Western governments also condemned the execution of Shekari, and some including the UK imposed additional sanctions.

Mohsen Shekari (via Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Iran has also summoned the French representative twice. Ambassadors from Australia, Norway and Denmark have also been called in over the protests.

Tehran’s foreign ministry has upbraided the envoys for various reasons including “anti-Iranian positions about the protests,” and “anti-Iranian propaganda” by media based in the countries, IRNA said.

After widespread international outrage at Shekari’s execution, Iran said it was exercising restraint, both in the response by security forces, and the “proportionality” of the judicial process.

Thousands of people have been arrested, and in late November a general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that more than 300 people have died, including dozens of security forces members.

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