In a surprising move, the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has granted pardon to almost 3500 prisoners on which 32 were being held on “security” charges. These were essentially university students and journalists.
Those convicted of armed opposition against Iran were not granted a pardon. The announcement came following the Islamic holiday marking the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.
These pardons were requested by Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the Iranian judiciary and an influential cleric.
Political analysts feel that Iran is trying to mend its ways with NATO nations, which have been repeatedly feeling a sense of distaste to the way Iran is meddling and messing with world politics.
Iran has held citizens of France, Britain, and the US without the consent of these countries on the pretext of spying and allegations of espionage against the Islamic State of Iran.
Most of these citizens have been withheld without any fair trial, stripped of their rights as citizens of other countries.
Iran has been severely criticized earlier for using hostages as bargaining chips to fight their way through diplomacy and politics.
In some documented cases, dual nationals have received 10 years or more in prison. For example, American-Iranian businessman Siamak Namazi was visiting his parents in Tehran in 2015 when he was arrested for “collaborating with enemy states” and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
In 2017, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considered “that there is an emerging pattern involving the arbitrary deprivation of liberty of dual nationals in Iran.”
Namazi is being held in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison and denied access to his lawyer or visits by family members. Most such cases are denied any option of litigation and considered traitors or criminals with no fair trial.
British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested on trumped-up spying charges in April 2016. She was apparently visiting family.
A judge in Tehran ruled that she will not be released until Iran receives payment for an old debt owed by Britain, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran.
She has been seen as a bargaining chip and has been in captive ever since. At least 30 dual nationals have been arrested in recent years by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, mostly on spying charges.
Britain like France has openly expressed its disgust over the tyrannical and myopic point of view that Tehran holds over the security of its own sovereignty.
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