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Political, social consequences of Navid Afkari’s execution for Iran’s mullahs

Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) supporters protesting the execution of Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari—Berlin, Germany—September 12, 2020.
Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) supporters protesting the execution of Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari—Berlin, Germany—September 12, 2020.

Analysis by PMOI/MEK

Iran, September 15, 2020—The execution of the Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari has sparked massive reactions inside the country and abroad.

Inside Iran, various groups of political prisoners across the country, students from different universities, people from all walks of life, and even some celebrities and known figures issued statements condemning Navid Afkari’s execution.

The regime’s objective in executing Navid, and previously Mostafa Salehi, was to install a climate of fear throughout the society in the face of a restive nation, and continue its reign of repression and violence. Contrary to the regime’s calculations, however, the execution has rendered an atmosphere of outrage and motivation for many inside and outside of Iran.

“To our families and people: Do not remain silent,” wrote a group of prisoners at the Greater Tehran Prison (Fashafuyeh) in an open letter that condemned the execution of Navid Afkari. “Our only solution is to stand up to this regime.”

“We will continue this path even if we are under torture and threat of execution, and we will overthrow this regime,” pledged the prisoners of Karaj Central Prison in their letter.

The prisoners of Tehran’s Qezel Hesar prison wrote in a letter: “These criminals think they can place fear in the hearts of the people by executing our brave youth… The end of [regime Supreme Leaker Ali] Khamenei’s rule is nearing, and he will be held accountable in Iran’s streets. The brutal execution of the enchained champion Navid Afkari will only add to the rage of the people and the youth of Shiraz. Khamenei should know that with this criminal act, he has only brought himself closer to the overthrow of his regime.”

A group of youths from Tehran said: “We commit ourselves to prevent the executions of other dignified youths of our country.”

A group of students from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran said: “The regime showed once again that it only understands the language of firmness and outrage, and soon it will be overthrown.”

Some truck drivers emphasized: “We are all Navid.”


International outcry

The execution of Navid Afkari has sparked a massive wave of international condemnations. Senior officials in the West, famous athletes, celebrities, international institutions, Nobel prize winners, writers, and ordinary people, etc. all strongly condemned the execution of Navid Afkari.

Among the regime’s western allies, the execution of Navid Afkari has had strong diplomatic consequences for the mullahs’ regime. It is not so easy anymore for western countries to continue negotiating and trading with the so-called reformist government of regime President Hassan Rouhani who has more than 4,000 execution on his record.

Richard Goldberg from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) said in a tweet: “In the wake of Navid Afkari’s murder, Council on Foreign Relations and any other US institutions planning virtual events with  Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif should cancel them immediately.”

Following the execution of Navid Afkari, Germany canceled a scheduled Berlin visit by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the mullahs’ foreign minister who is also described as the regime’s chief apologist. This was an important diplomatic visit in a critical period, according to the Tasnim news agency, an outlet linked to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force.

However, canceling the Zarif’s visit is not enough. If Europe had condemned Navid’s death sentence, he might be alive today.

As Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) stated: “Silence and inaction give a green light to and are considered as complicity in these crimes. The UN Security Council, its member states, the Human Rights Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights, the EU and all international human rights authorities must take practical, effective measures against the regime in Iran for the execution of Navid Afkari and 120,000 political prisoners in the last 41 years.”

NCRI’s Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Mohammad Mohadessin said that the European countries must shut down the Iranian regime’s embassies and expel its ambassadors and intelligence agents and emphasized: “Iranian people await strong measures. Don’t sacrifice human rights for the sake of trade with a collapsing regime. Will Europe continue its silence and inaction over Navid's torture and death sentence for petty economic interests?”

Role of MEK and Iranian Resistance

Due to the daily revelations published by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), parallel to the constant activities of its supporters inside the country and throughout the world, the case of human rights violations in Iran have been highlighted before the international community like never before.

On September 12, MEK supporters held protests in various cities across Europe and the U.S., including Paris, Berlin, London, Gutenberg, The Hague, Bern, Brussels, Copenhagen, Rome, Malmo, Hamburg, and Washington to condemn the execution of Navid Afkari.


Back in June a global Twitter campaign, in which users tweeted the Persian hashtag #donotexecute 12 million times, called for the halt of the death sentences issued for three political prisoners, Amir Hossein Moradi, Saied Tamjidi, and Mohammad Rajabi, arrested during the November 2019 nationwide protests.


The state-run website Mashreq, affiliated to Khamenei, acknowledged the Iranian Resistance’s international campaigns against the death sentences issued by the mullahs.


“It seems that the hashtag #donotexecute is led by a command room which considered the campaign as a great success and has decided to turn every judicial case into a heavy and exhausting propaganda controversy against our judiciary. Victimization of criminals, especially those with security charges, and questioning the honesty, qualification, and legitimacy of our judiciary, which is the guarantor of public order and our society’s civilization, is a very dangerous project aimed at imposing heavy costs to the country and the state.”

The people of Iran and their resistance movement are poised to overthrow this regime and realize the long-sought dream of establishing freedom and democracy in their country. The execution of national champion Navid Afkari has only strengthened their resolve in achieving this goal. The world should stand with them.