Iran: another protester executed

A second execution has been carried out in Iran in connection with the protests that started almost three months ago against the leadership of the Islamic Republic. Majid Reza Rahnavard, 23, was convicted of killing two security officers with a knife and publicly hanged on Monday, the country's judiciary reported. Several other protesters are on an execution list. What happens now?

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Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

The anger is growing

Gazeta Wyborcza does not believe that Iranians will be intimidated:

“Human rights activists are sounding the alarm that the executions of two protesters, sentenced after show trials just days apart from each other, could be an indication that there are more to come. ... The rulers in Tehran are probably hoping that in this way they will be able to deter Iranians from further protests. However, the demonstrations have not ended so far and the brutal actions of the security forces, who have already killed hundreds of people since September, are only increasing the anger and intensifying the protests.”

Yetkin Report (TR) /

Change is coming

The Iranian regime is sending ambiguous signals, Yetkin Report notes:

“With the arrests, violent repression and the first executions, the regime is hoping to keep protesters off the streets by upping the price of protesting. At the same time, there has been discussion about abolishing the Irshad patrol [morality police], which controls how women dress. ... This has made it clear that the different voices within the regime are unable to reach a consensus. ... Which direction the regime will develop in is not foreseeable. ... But it is certain that it is changing and will continue to change. That is the achievement of the demonstrators in the face of an increasingly rigid regime.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Rapprochement unthinkable

Tehran will continue its crackdown, De Volkskrant is convinced:

“The regime may be showing small cracks, but the hard core stands united. The hundreds of thousands of members of the Revolutionary Guards (an elite corps with close ties to the economy) will defend the system to which they owe everything. So we can't expect a quick turnaround, even if the faint hope remains that the protests could eventually lead to change. The confrontation between the hardliners at the top and the resolve of the people who are taking to the streets against them becomes clearer with every arrest and every death.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Cowardly realpolitik

La Stampa accuses the West of being too cautious:

“Iranian women embody the rights of all women, and ultimately of us all. ... Europe looks on and stammers ritual condemnations. ... Why? No doubt realpolitik is playing a role in making us reluctant to provoke the tyrannical regime too much: Iran is a regional power on the verge of becoming a nuclear power as well. It is a constant threat to Israel, and it is Putin's main ally first in the war in Syria and now in the war in Ukraine, in which it is participating with generous supplies of Shahed-129 and Shahed-191 drones.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Overt terror

Corriere della Sera laments the beginning of a new era:

“His name was Mohsen Shekari, 23 years old. ... He will go down in the history books as the first dissident hanged in this new, ruthless wave of Iranian repression: guilty of 'waging war against God'. The open execution and the disclosure of what the militias have so far been doing in secret shows that the confrontation has become existential. On one side are the young people who no longer want to submit. ... On the other, the regime that emerged from the Khomeini revolution, whose legitimacy, authority and future these young people no longer recognise. But its leaders have no intention of taking their leave.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Typical intimidation

The Spectator explains:

“It is widely known that the Iranian state uses courts and punishments more as a way of sending messages of terror than justice. When it has executed people in the past, like the former wrestler Navid Afkari, it has done so for transparently political reasons. Afkari protested against the government in 2018, but he did not murder a security guard as he was later accused of doing. ...The purpose was to put the fear of God into those who were demonstrating against the government at that time.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Tehran in a bind

Hospodářské noviny wonders where events will go from here:

“Authoritarian and dictatorial governments only offer concessions when they amount to little or nothing. That is why even after the announced dissolution of the morality police, which embodies religiously motivated oppression, the protests have not stopped, quite the contrary. ... The rulers in Tehran, or more to the point the religious leaders, are facing a difficult decision. With further repression they risk an escalation of the current conflict. But if they were to offer truly convincing concessions, they would meet resistance from a parallel army of Revolutionary Guards whose position guarantees them power, economic influence and a considerable income.”