Foreign Secretary summons most senior Iran diplomat over execution of protesters

The Foreign Secretary summoned Iran’s most senior British-based diplomat after Tehran executed two more protesters over the weekend.

Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini were executed by the Iranian authorities over the weekend, prompting widespread international condemnation, including from Pope Francis.

James Cleverly said the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the decision to put protesters to death, during talks with the Iranian charge d’affaires, Mehdi Hosseini Matin.

Mr Cleverly said: “Today I have summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires to condemn in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent executions we witnessed over the weekend.

Anti-government protest
Protests exploded in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini in September (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“The Iranian regime must end its campaign of brutal repression and start listening to the concerns of its people.”

Stephen Hickey, Middle East director at the FCDO, held the meeting with Mr Matin, underlining the UK’s opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances, officials said.

The executions came in the aftermath of protests that erupted in Iran in mid-September over the death of Mahsa Amini.

Ms Amini, 22, died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested during demonstrations over the circumstances of her death.

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At least four people are known to have been executed since the demonstrations began.

Iran’s judiciary said Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini had been convicted of killing a paramilitary volunteer during a demonstration.

Their internationally criticised trials were rapid and took place behind closed doors.

Following confirmation of their executions on Saturday, Mr Cleverly called Tehran’s behaviour “abhorrent”.

Since the death of Mahsa Amini, the UK has imposed more than 40 human rights sanctions.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s administration has targeted leading political, judicial and security officials in Iran for their role in what the FCDO called “serious human rights violations”.