Iranian authorities are using executions as a “key component” of efforts to suppress peaceful protests, said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
His description of executions as a tool of terror came after news that on January 7 Iran executed two more young men in connection with protests that have swept the country following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini in September.
“We are appalled by Iran’s executions of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Mohammad Hosseini and the sentencing, I should add, of additional individuals to death for involvement in protests,” said Spokesperson Price. “These two individuals were put to death following what can only be called sham trials, sham trials that were rushed, that lacked any fair trial guarantees. We condemn these executions in the strongest terms.”
Credible human rights groups estimate that more than a dozen people have been issued death sentences in Iran in connection with the protests. In addition, more than 500 people have been killed by Iranian security forces, and over 18,000 arrested.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights deplored the "shocking" executions of Karami and Hosseini following "unfair trials based on forced confessions.”
U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said in a tweet, “We and others across the globe will continue to hold Iran’s leadership accountable.”
In December, the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions on additional individuals and entities because of their roles in the Iranian regime’s violent response to protests. Following the latest executions, Canada announced additional sanctions as well.
Spokesperson Price noted that last year the United States successfully pushed for the UN Human Rights Council to set up a Fact-Finding Mission to investigate Iran’s human rights abuses, especially regarding women and children since the protests began in September. “To see to it that the world’s preeminent body, in many respects, has a standing commission that is solely and exclusively trained on the brutality that the Iranian regime is perpetrating against its own citizens,” he said.
The United States will continue to help the Fact-Finding Mission “fulfill the mission that was set out for it,” declared Spokesperson Price, “just as we continue to train the eyes of the UN [and] of our partners on what is happening to the Iranian people.”