Iran summons German envoy for condemning wrestler’s execution

Iran summons German envoy for condemning wrestler’s execution
A woman holds a portrait of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari during a demonstration on the Dam Square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on September 13, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 September 2020

Iran summons German envoy for condemning wrestler’s execution

Iran summons German envoy for condemning wrestler’s execution
  • The ministry told German envoy the reaction was considered to be an “interference in the internal affairs” of Iran
  • It called on the German embassy to “recognize the limits of its diplomatic duties and not go beyond them”

TEHRAN: Iran’s foreign ministry on Monday summoned Germany’s ambassador over tweets condemning the execution of a wrestler, accused of murdering a man during a wave of anti-government protests in 2018.
The ministry “strongly condemned” the tweets and told German envoy Hans-Udo Muzel that the reaction was considered to be an “interference in the internal affairs” of Iran, an official statement read.
It called on the German embassy to “recognize the limits of its diplomatic duties and not go beyond them.”
“Interference in the laws, regulations and judicial procedures of the Islamic Republic of Iran is not tolerable in any way,” the statement added.
Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old wrestler, was executed at a prison in the southern city of Shiraz on Saturday.
According to Iran’s judiciary, he had been found guilty of “voluntary homicide” for stabbing to death a water department employee on August 2, 2018.
Shiraz and several other urban centers across Iran had been the scene that day of anti-government protests and demonstrations over economic and social hardship.
The German embassy condemned Afkari’s death in a message written in Farsi posted on its official Twitter account on Sunday.
“We were deeply shocked by the execution of Navid Afkari,” the message read.
“It is not acceptable that basic legal rights be ignored in order to silence opposing voices,” it added.
The embassy said that Afkari’s two brothers “are still in prison and now they need our solidarity.”
Reports published abroad say Afkari was convicted on the basis of confessions aired on television after being extracted under torture, prompting online campaigns for his release.
The judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency has denied the accusations.
Earlier on Monday, a judiciary official condemned the “interference of some European embassies” and called on them to “not be a loudspeaker for lies like an opposition group.”
“Foreign pressure will neither dull the sharp tip of the judiciary’s justice, nor lessen its Islamic mercy and compassion,” Mizan Online quoted the judiciary’s deputy head for international affairs Ali Bagheri as saying.


US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’

US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’
Updated 23 min 55 sec ago

US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’

US designates Bahrain, UAE ‘major security partners’
  • Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet and hostssome 5,000 American troops
  • UAE hosts 3,500 US troops and its Jebel Ali port is the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the US

DUBAI: The US called Bahrain and the UAE “major security partners” early on Saturday, a previously unheard of designation for the two countries home to major American military operations.
A White House statement tied the designation to Bahrain and the UAE normalizing ties to Israel, saying it “reflects their extraordinary courage, determination and leadership.” It also noted the two countries long have taken part in US military exercises.
It’s unclear what the designation means for Bahrain and the UAE.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, while the UAE’s Jebel Ali port is the busiest port of call for American warships outside of the US. Bahrain hosts some 5,000 American troops, while the UAE hosts 3,500, many at Al-Dhafra Air Base.
Already, the US uses the designation of “major non-NATO ally” to describe its relationship with Kuwait, which hosts the forward command of US Army Central. That designation grants a country special financial and military considerations for nations not part of NATO. Bahrain also is a non-NATO ally.
The US military’s Central Command and the Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The 5th Fleet referred queries to the State Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House designation comes in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration.
Trump forged close ties to Gulf Arab countries during his time in office in part over his hard-line stance on Iran.
That’s sparked a series of escalating incidents between the countries after Trump unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
It also comes after Bahrain and the UAE joined Egypt and Saudi Arabia in beginning to resolve a yearslong boycott of Qatar, that houses Al-Udeid Air Base.