Iran faces backlash over hanging of France-based dissident

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                L'Iran a été confronté lundi à une réaction internationale croissante suite à l'exécution du dissident basé en France Ruhollah Zam, les gouvernements occidentaux accusant Téhéran de l'avoir enlevé à l'étranger pour être jugé. 
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                                    <p>Zam a été pendu samedi après avoir été condamné à mort pour son rôle dans les manifestations de l'hiver 2017-18, alors qu'il dirigeait une chaîne de médias sociaux populaire qui rassemblait les opposants au régime.

He had lived in Paris for several years after obtaining refugee status in France.

In October 2019, he left Paris for a trip to Iraq.

The motives for his trip remain unclear, but activists say he was attracted to travel to Iraq, was captured by Iranian security forces and then transferred to Iran for trial.

“The United States strongly condemns the unjust and barbaric execution by Iran of Ruhollah Zam, an Iranian journalist kidnapped abroad by the regime,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it was shocked by the circumstances surrounding Zam’s conviction “in particular the… kidnapping abroad”.

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she was “appalled” by the execution, adding that there were “serious concerns” that Zam’s capture outside Iran “could amount to a kidnapping ”.

After Iranian state television broadcast what it called an “interview” with Zam during his detention in July, Bachelet also said his conviction was “emblematic of a model of a forced confession extracted under the law. torture and broadcast on state media serving as a basis for convicting people. . ”

‘Exceptional stage’

The international fury over Zam’s execution also comes at an extremely delicate time, with European powers keen to revive the international deal on Iran’s nuclear program when new US President Joe Biden takes office next year.

Iran’s foreign ministry summoned envoys from Germany and France on Sunday to protest against the EU’s condemnation of his execution over the weekend.

In a blow to supporters of dialogue and trade with Iran, organizers postponed a major forum on Iranian-European affairs that was due to start on Monday.

The three-day Europe-Iran Business Forum was to have started with keynote addresses by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, followed by a panel with ambassadors from the ‘EU.

“The organizing committee of the Europe-Iran Business Forum has decided to take the exceptional decision to postpone the conference,” the organizers said in a statement Sunday evening.

“The European and Iranian business communities continue to see significant potential and value in trade,” they added, expressing hope that the conference would take place in the near future.

The French Foreign Ministry said on its Twitter account that following the “barbaric and unacceptable execution” of Zam, its ambassador to Tehran, as well as those of Germany, Austria and Italy, were canceling. their participation in the forum.

“#Nobusinessasusual,” he said in a hashtag.

Tool of repression ‘

But speaking in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani predicted that relations between Iran and Europe would not suffer from execution.

“I don’t think this issue will harm relations between Iran and Europe,” Rouhani told reporters, noting that capital punishment is part of Iranian law.

Activists argued that the execution should bring worldwide attention to the use of the death penalty in Iran, three months after the execution of wrestler Navid Afkari – who was convicted of murdering a responsible during the protests – caused widespread anger.

Iran executes more people every year than any country other than China.

Amnesty International said Zam was “abducted during a visit to Iraq in October 2019 by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, apparently with the help of Iraqi intelligence services, and forcibly returned to Iran”.

Human Rights Watch researcher Tara Sepehri Far said in a statement that the execution “shows how Iran used as a weapon the cruel and inhumane use of the death penalty as a tool of repression.”

Also on Monday, the United States accused Iran for the first time of being directly involved in the “probable death” of former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who disappeared 13 years ago, and imposed sanctions on two intelligence officers.

“We will not back down to prosecute those who played a role in his demise,” Pompeo said.

(AFP)

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