State media reports that thousands of Iranian prisoners held in Iran during massive anti-government protests will be released.
Ayatollah Al Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader is believed to have ordered amnesties and reductions in prison terms. However, there are a few exceptions.
According to state news agency IRNA, no one would be charged with “corruption on Earth” which carries the death penalty.
Internationally disputed charges of spying for foreign agencies will also be brought up.
This decision is part of an annual pardoning of Iran to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution which ended the historical monarchy of the country and ushers in the current regime.
Gholamhossein Ejei, the head of Iran’s judiciary said that many of those released were “young people” who had been “indoctrinated” by hostile forces and now regret their actions.
The move may also have a practical purpose, since Iran’s detention centers are facing extreme overcrowding. This is well past the recent nationwide unrest that was sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death in September.
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Thousands of people arrested in protests
Ms Amini was taken into custody for violating the country’s strict Islamic dress codes.
According to the UN, thousands of people were arrested in the aftermath of the demonstrations.
According to Human Rights Activists Iran, at most 527 protesters were killed by the authorities.
Iran has not yet revealed how many people have died over the past months. However, it has executed at most four people in protest of the unrest. The regime claims that this has nothing to do with the death of Ms Amini.
Instead, State TV referred to the protests instead as a “foreign backed riot”.
Amnesty International condemned the hangings as a result of “sham trials meant to intimidate people participating in the popular uprising which has rocked Iran.”
“The revolution is still alive”
Opposition leader demands referendum
Iranians who oppose the government are also angry at Tehran’s support of Russia in its War in Ukraine. This includes providing deadly drones and the collapse in value of Iran’s rial currency to the US dollar.
Isfahan was still reeling after a surprise attack by an aerial force on a military facility. Israel has been blamed for the strike.
Mir Hossein Mousavi (an opposition leader held in detention) has called for a nationwide referendum to decide whether a new constitution should been written.
While he was a long-standing supporter of Iran’s democracy for decades, the 80 year-old and his wife are currently under house arrest following protests over his 2019 election loss.