Iran authorities summon envoys over EU statement on dissident’s execution


The envoys of Germany and France to Iran have been summoned by the Foreign Ministry’s Department for European Affairs after the EU published a statement condemning the execution of an opposition figure in the “strongest terms”.

The Iranian foreign ministry’s Europe director told Germany’s ambassador, Hans-Udo Muzel, that Tehran “condemned” the statement, saying it is “an unacceptable interference in Iran’s domestic affairs,” state news agency IRNA reported.

Iranian authorities executed Ruhollah Zam, founder of the country’s most popular online news outlet, AmadNews on Saturday, after being convicted of the Islamic crime of “spreading corruption on earth”.

The EU emphasised its “irrevocable opposition to the use of capital punishment”.

Iran also protested the “indulgence towards elements spreading violence and committing terrorist acts” against Iran shown by “some European countries”, IRNA added.

IRNA also reported that the foreign ministry also summoned France’s ambassador to Tehran, Philippe Thiebaud, following the “interventionist statement by the French foreign ministry on the carrying out of Zam’s death sentence”.

Zam was granted political asylum in France and reportedly lived in Paris before his arrest last year by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, who claimed he had been “directed by France’s intelligence service”.

France’s foreign ministry had decried Zam’s hanging, calling it “an unacceptable and barbaric act” and a “serious attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press”.

IRNA said Zam was convicted of espionage for France and an unnamed country in the region, cooperating with the “hostile government of America”, acting against “the country’s security”, insulting the “sanctity of Islam” and instigating violence during protests in 2017.

At least 25 people were killed during the unrest in December 2017 and January 2018 that was sparked by economic hardship.

As his trial started, state television broadcast a “documentary” about Zam’s “relations” with the Islamic republic’s foes.

The broadcaster also aired an “interview” with him in July, in which he is seen saying he believed in reformism until he was detained in 2009 during protests against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The EU’s External Action Service had said Saturday that it was “imperative for the Iranian authorities to uphold the due process rights of accused individuals and to cease the practice of using televised confessions to establish and promote their guilt”. (Source: CNA)