Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has pardoned “tens of thousands” of prisoners, including some who were arrested in recent anti-government demonstrations, as reported by state news agency IRNA, on Sunday.
In state media reports, however, it was revealed that the pardon came with conditions, which stated that it wouldn’t apply to any of the numerous dual nationals detained in Iran.
There will also be no pardon for the protesters accused of “corruption on earth” – a capital charge brought against some of them, four of whom have been executed – according to the IRNA. Additionally, the pardon will not apply to those charged with “spying for foreign agencies”, or associated with groups hostile to the Islamic Republic, as reported.
Protests erupted in the country in September 2022, when Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died after reportedly suffering serious injuries while in custody of Iran’s morality police. A number of Iranians from different walks of life took part in the event, marking one of the most significant challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.
In connection with the protests, which the authorities accused Iran’s foreign enemies of fomenting, about 20,000 people have been arrested, according to the Humans Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA).
Over 500 people have been killed in the crackdown, including 70 minors, according to rights groups. According to the Iranian judiciary, at least four individuals have been hung. The head of the court, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, wrote to Khamenei asking for his forgiveness, stating, “During recent events, a lot of individuals, especially young people, performed improper deeds and crimes as a consequence of the brainwashing and propaganda of the adversary.” Since the executions began, protests have significantly decreased. Many of these young citizens now regret their conduct, according to Ejei, because the goals of the foreign foes and anti-revolutionary currents were thwarted.
Reportedly, Khamenei gave his approval to the pardons in honour of the anniversary of the Islamic revolution in 1979. The pardons won’t apply to those facing allegations of spying for foreign agencies, having direct contact with foreign agents, inflicting intentional death and harm, and committing destruction and arson of state property.
“Naturally, those who do not express regret for their activities and give a written commitment for not repeating those activities, will not be pardoned,” said Iran’s Deputy Judiciary Chief Sadeq Rahimi, as reported by state media.
The Iran Human Rights organisation located in Norway has said that at least 100 protesters in custody would get death sentences this week, on Thursday. The Iranian government has come under fire from Amnesty International, for conducting what it dubbed “sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran”.