US urges Iran not to execute protesters
The United States on Thursday urged Iran not to carry out the executions of three people involved in nationwide protests, with campaigners fearing that authorities will kill them imminently.
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel, echoing a statement last week by Amnesty International, voiced concern that Iran may soon execute Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi, who were arrested in November over protests in the central city of Isfahan.
"We join the people of Iran and the international community in calling on Iran to not carry out these executions," Patel told reporters.
"The execution of these men after what have widely been regarded as sham trials would be an affront to human rights and basic dignity in Iran and everywhere.
"It is clear from this episode that the Iranian regime has learned nothing from the protests that began with another death, the death of Mahsa Amini."
Protests have swept Iran since September when Amini died in custody after her arrest for allegedly violating the clerical state's dress rules for women.
Iran has been ramping up the use of the death penalty, including by executing four protesters last year, prompting international condemnation.
Kazemi's case has caused concern in Australia where some of his family live, with his cousin saying that he was involved in "peaceful protests" for change.