A woman is painted on a her face during a protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died while in police custody in Iran, during a rally in central Rome, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.InternationalIndiaAfricaThe head of Iran’s judiciary announced on Monday that more than 100,000 people would be either granted amnesty from charges against them or have their sentences commuted. Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s chief justice, said a total of 82,656 people have been pardoned, including 22,628 detained in the massive protests seen in recent months following the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody. In addition, Ejei said the sentences of 34,000 people had been commuted.
The mass amnesty was previously announced by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution last month, and comes ahead of the Persian New Year, Nowruz, next week.
The announcement is also the first time the Iranian government has released official numbers about how many were arrested during the protests last year. International NGOs had reportedly widely differing claims about the number of people killed or detained during the demonstrations, which the government has called “riots.” Official numbers say at least 200 have died, although the US-based Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) has claimed there were at least 530 deaths.Economy‘They Now Need Democracy’: Internet Fears for Iran’s Safety as Tehran Finds $500 Billion in Lithium3 March, 16:30 GMTThe protests were set off by the death of Amini, 22, following a September 13, 2022, encounter with the Guidance Patrol, Iran’s morality police, who said she was not wearing her hijab properly. She died three days later, officially due to a heart attack and coma caused by a prior heart ailment, but anecdotal reports claimed she died from complications caused by a severe beating by police.The demonstrations saw peaceful protests, including women defiantly removing their hijabs, but also violent attacks on buildings, police and Guidance Patrol officers.
While Khamenei and other Iranian leaders lamented Amini’s death and pledged an investigation, both Tehran and Moscow have also alleged a Western hand in the scale and violence of the mass demonstrations that followed.
AnalysisHistoric Saudi-Iran Deal Proves ‘Major Setback’ for US But Raises Questions About JCPOA Lifeline11 March, 02:10 GMTThe mass pardons also come as Iran is facing down increased pressure from the US and Israel over its nuclear program, which they allege is a secret nuclear weapons program, despite Tehran’s fervent denials and no evidence of such a weaponization effort. Talks to restore a 2015 deal and remove US sanctions have been stuck for more than a year on a handful of disagreements, with Tehran saying it is up to the US to return to compliance since it was the part that left the deal in the first place, and Washington demanding additional concessions from the Iranians that weren’t part of the original deal.It also comes after a historic peace deal last week with Saudi Arabia, Iran’s major regional rival, to restore diplomatic relations that had been severed since 2016. The deal was brokered by China, a growing partner with both nations.