Iran appoints Western-sanctioned prosecutor general to head top court

Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is under US and UK punitive measures for prosecution of Mahsa Amini protesters last year

Iran's Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri in 2018. (Fars Media Corporation, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Iran's Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri in 2018. (Fars Media Corporation, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Sunday appointed Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, who is under US and British sanctions, to head the Islamic Republic’s top court.

Montazeri was named the supreme court chief after the “opinions of all the court judges” were taken into consideration, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.

The 75-year-old, who had served as prosecutor general since 2016, would be succeeded in his former post by Mohammad Kazem Movahedi Azad, the chief of the High Disciplinary Court of Judges which investigates judicial conduct, Mizan added.

Montazeri was placed under US sanctions in December, with Washington identifying him as having a role in “overseeing the prosecution of protesters” during mass demonstrations in Iran last year.

Britain followed suit in January and imposed punitive measures against Montazeri following the execution of British-Iranian Alireza Akbari for spying.

Iran was gripped by unrest after the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, following her arrest for an alleged breach of the country’s dress rules for women.

The demonstrations saw hundreds of people killed, including dozens of security personnel, and thousands arrested in connection with what officials labeled as “riots.”

Seven men have been executed in protest-related cases involving killings and other violence against security forces.

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