A group of 227 parliament members in Iran has called on the Judiciary to issue death sentences for people arrested during the ongoing antigovernment protests.
The parliament, elected in a non-competitive election in February 2020, is packed with hardliners and Revolutionary Guard officers.
In a statement that was read out in the parliament on Sunday, the lawmakers called the protesters ‘mohareb’ -- which literally means warrior in Arabic, but in Islamic law or sharia it means ‘enemy of God’ that carries the death penalty. They also compared the protesters to members of ISIS, who "attack people's lives and property..."
The Iranian regime has so far charged several people with ‘moharebeh,’ “corruption on earth,” “assembly and collusion against national security” and “confrontation with the Islamic Republic” for participating in the protests.
Describing the current wave of popular protests as “riots,” the MPs claimed that “the US and other enemies” are inciting violence, organizing rallies, and providing financial support and weaponry to commandeer the protests. They also said “thugs and mobs” have killed tens of people and disrupted the security of the country.
Echoing the Islamic Republic’s propaganda line, the lawmakers said that “the enemies have been defeated in Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Yemen” therefore they organized the “riots” as a reaction to “victories of the Islamic Republic.”
Without mentioning any individuals or groups, the hardline lawmakers also asked the judiciary to take legal actions against “the politicians who incited the rioters.”
Mohammd Bagher Ghalibaf, parliament speaker in an undated phot with IRGC's Qasem Soleimani
Earlier in the parliament session, Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Qalibaf) said that main elements of Mossad, CIA and their allied groups are behind the unrest in the country.
Late in October, hardliner MP Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, also a high ranking IRGC officer, implicitly threatened that the government will respond differently to the ongoing protests from now on.
While protests continue across Iran, the Islamic Republic’s Judiciary has also announced that it has indicted over 1,000 people who were arrested during the demonstrations.
Authorities have been claiming that “separatists” and “instigators” are behind the efforts to overthrow the government and break Iran into areas controlled by ethnic groups, a claim routinely denied by Iranians on streets and social media.
The claim that protests are instigated by foreign enemies was first made by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and loyal officials now repeat his conspiracy theory.
President Ebrahim Raisi on October 25 accused “enemies of the Islamic Republic” of fomenting the protests, echoing what Khamenei said a day earlier. Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf in turn vowed that parliament would take action to change the ways of the morality police in a bid to calm the protesters.
“Death sentences against people for exercising their right to freedom of expression, after the killings of peaceful protesters, abductions and gunning down children, and other atrocities, indicate a government that is out of control and willing to quash protests at any cost,” said a statement by Center for Human Rights in Iran.
The Norway-based human rights organization also expressed concern regarding the fate of the detained protesters saying, “dozens of them have been charged with the security-related charges of ‘moharebeh’ and ‘corruption on earth’ which carry the death penalty.”
The Islamic Republic’s history and current evidence indicate that they intend to use the death penalty as a tool of political repression to intimidate their opposition.
Earlier in November, 40 Iranian lawyers issued a statement saying most people no longer want the Islamic Republic and called on their peers to speak up and defend the people.
Iran has been gripped by protests since the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin who had been arrested on September 13 for allegedly breaching the Islamic dress code and died three days later from severe head trauma. Protests spread fueled by public outrage over a crackdown that led to the deaths of other young men, women, and children. Now in their seventh week, the protests show no sign of ending.