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CHRI: Governments Worldwide Should Recall Ambassadors from Iran

Governments around the world should recall their ambassadors from the Islamic Republic in protest against the Iranian government’s hanging of protesters and killing of hundreds of peaceful demonstrators in the streets, and join the growing number of countries that have summoned Iran’s diplomats to directly express their outrage over the country’s actions, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today.

Germany's ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel

“The authorities’ willingness to murder young Iranians—either by the noose or by gunning them down in the streets—means that without much more forceful international action, more women and men will be killed,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi.

“Every hour counts; governments must recall their ambassadors and immediately start assembling a vastly strengthened array of measures to communicate to the Islamic Republic that the costs of its violent repression will quickly mount,” said Ghaemi.

“Islamic Republic officials appear to believe they can ride out global condemnation of their atrocities,” Ghaemi added. “The world must convince them otherwise.”

In addition to recalling their ambassadors from Iran in protest, governments around the world should summon their Iranian counterparts to relay their demands that:

  • The Islamic Republic institute an immediate halt to executions

  • All death sentences pronounced against protesters be immediately annulled

  • No further death sentences against protesters should be issued

  • The state’s lethal violence against protesters in the streets immediately cease

  • Detained protesters should be immediately released

  • Any prosecutions of protesters must follow international standards of due process and fair trials, including the right to independent counsel of choice

Governments should also significantly expand their individual and institutional human rights sanctions against the Islamic Republic to include any individuals and organizations associated with rights violations. This should include the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and any elite figures in the judiciary, police, prisons, and detention centers, as well as the companies they control, the placement of their funds, the individuals they use as asset-owning proxies, and financial holdings they have outside Iran.

So far, at least 520 people, including 70 children, have been killed by security forces since nationwide anti-government protests began in September 2022, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.

According to research by CHRI, at least 20 people have been sentenced to death in connection with the protests, while 42 are facing charges that could carry the death penalty (four young men have already been executed). These are only known numbers; real numbers are believed to be far higher.

Growing Numbers of Governments Summon Iran’s Ambassadors

On January 9, the European Union summoned Iran’s ambassador to the bloc, and Stefano Sannino, secretary-general of the European External Action Service (EEAS), relayed the bloc’s outrage at the recent executions of two young men arrested in the context of the protests to the Iranian ambassador, Hossein Dehghani.

Germany also summoned Iran’s ambassador, with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock saying at a news conference in Berlin on January 9, “Today I ordered the Iranian ambassador to be summoned to the Foreign Office again to make it absolutely clear that the brutal repression, the oppression and the terrorization of the country’s own people, as well as the recent executions, will not go unnoticed…. A regime that murders its own youth to intimidate its population has no future.”

Britain’s Foreign Minister James Cleverly summoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires after Iranian authorities executed protestors Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini, saying in a statement, “Today I have summoned the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires to condemn in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent executions we witnessed over the weekend. The Iranian regime must end its campaign of brutal repression and start listening to the concerns of its people.”

The French foreign ministry stated that the Iranian charge d’affaires in Paris had been summoned, writing on Twitter that “He (the Iranian chargé d’affaires) was informed of our strongest condemnation of the executions and repression in Iran.”

On January 7, the Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the Dutch government would summon the Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands for the second time in a month to voice its concerns over the execution of protesters, writing on Twitter that he was “appalled by the horrible executions of demonstrators in Iran.”

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib stated on Twitter: “Horrified by the execution of two more Iranian citizens in the context of the ongoing protests. Belgium has a principled stance against capital punishment. Together with like-minded EU member states, we will summon the Iranian ambassador. New EU-sanctions are on the table.”

In addition, Norway’s foreign ministry said on January 9 that it had summoned Iran’s ambassador to Oslo to express its concerns, Denmark also announced they would be summoning Iran’s ambassadors, and Italysummoned Iran’s ambassador to Rome in late December.

CHRI calls on countries around the world, such as Austria, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Australia, North Zealand, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and Liberia, to name just a few, to also summon Iran’s diplomats for censure and to recall their ambassadors in protest, so that the Islamic Republic is met with a significantly strengthened and coordinated international response to its violence against its own people.

“Governments around the world must stand and be counted,” said Ghaemi, “And go beyond verbal condemnations that have done nothing to stop the Islamic Republic’s killing spree.”


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