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Two months after the death of young Mahsa Amini at the hands of the police, protests in Iran continue to inflame the country. There are hundreds of deaths, including dozens of minors, and thousands of arrests. Repression intensifies: now those who demonstrate risk the death penalty.

In the Iranian capital, a court has sentenced to death one of thousands of people arrested for participating in protests over the past two months against the death of Mahsa Amini and against the Iranian regime. This would be the first case, to which many others could follow. Mizan, the Iranian justice news site, clarified that this person, whose identity is not known at the moment, was sentenced to death for a series of crimes, including one of the most serious: that of having sown corruption and moral decay and being an “enemy of God”.

Photo Twitter @MarianoGiustino

This happened on Sunday, November 13. The following day, November 14, the European Union launched a new package of sanctions against Tehran. “I spoke to the Iranian minister about this, about the nuclear deal, about the military support to Russia that needs to be stopped,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s top representative for common foreign policy. It was Borrell himself who announced the EU sanctions on Tehran, speaking to reporters ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels. Any countermeasure by Iran “is part of the game”, added the EU executive.

Iran: “Sanctions? Burned Cards”

Iran’s response came very close. “We advise European states to avoid using human rights as a tool and to act within the framework of diplomacy. Since sanctions are burnt cards, they don’t work in this country. These are statements by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani. Iran has also sent documents to some foreign countries on the alleged involvement of their citizens arrested during the protests against the Ayatollahs’ regime. Demonstrations, sit-ins and clashes with the police which have followed one another since the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16. The 22-year-old girl was arrested for “inappropriate clothing”, said Nasser Kanani. She died during her arrest and it is suspected that she was killed by the police.

A girl shot dead by security forces in the town of Rasht on November 10. Photo Twitter @MarianoGiustino

“Legal action has been taken against these countries and their citizens for turning the protests into violence,” Kanani said. “Iran monitors the statements and behavior of foreign citizens, as well as certain countries. And also their interference, which inflicted losses on the nation. Iran arrested 9 foreign nationals in early October, including Italian Alessia Piperno and others from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. The accusation? Play a role in the protests. Alessia Piperno, from Rome, 30, was released and returned to Italy 4 days ago, on November 10.

Protests at the World Cup in Qatar?

But protests against the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have now spread to various parts of Iran. And after women, young people and university and school students, the world of sport is also mobilizing. Next Sunday, November 20, the World Cup will start in Qatar and the Tehran national team will participate. Among the athletes who have spoken out in support of the protests after Mahsa Amini’s death is also 27-year-old playmaker Sardar Azmoun among Iran’s teams. Azmoun, who plays for German club Bayer Leverkusen, posted several messages of support on social media for the protests in Iran. His Instagram account has 5 million followers. Activists have urged fans attending Iranian World Cup matches to chant Mahsa Amini’s name.

Sardar Azmoun, left, in action for Bayer Leverkusen. Photo Ansa / Epa Ronald WitteK

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