US President Donald Trump has joined throngs of social media users posting the Persian hashtag meaning “No to Executions” to protest the planned execution of three men over their involvement in demonstrations in November 2019.
The hashtag campaign was launched on Tuesday after the Iranian judiciary upheld the death sentences of Amirhossein Moradi, 25, Mohammad Rajabi, 25, and Saeed Tamjidi, 27. The hashtag quickly went viral across Instagram and Twitter, with famous Iranians adding their voices to the protest.
President Trump tweeted the hashtag twice, in English and Persian, alongside a message calling for the death sentences to be repealed.
“Three individuals were sentenced to death in Iran for participating in protests. The execution is expected momentarily. Executing these three people sends a terrible signal to the world and should not be done! #StopExecutionsInIran”, Trump’s tweet reads.
Three individuals were sentenced to death in Iran for participating in protests. The execution is expected momentarily. Executing these three people sends a terrible signal to the world and should not be done! #StopExecutionsInIran
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2020
Tensions between the US and Iran have risen dramatically since Trump took office in 2017. Escalating rapidly after the US president withdrew from the JCPOA (nuclear deal) in 2018 and imposed a ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions campaign on the Islamic Republic.
Trump also oversaw the assassination by air strike of Iranian Quds Forces Commander Qassem Soleimani on 3 January 2020. The assassination was later deemed “unlawful” in a UN report by Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, and dangerously heightened tensions in the region.
The US has previously condemned the Iranian use of the death penalty and raised concerns over the use of violence against peaceful protesters, especially during demonstrations late last year.
According to a report by Al Arabiya, in the wake of the violent crackdown on protesters, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Iranian Minister of the Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli for his role in the attacks.
A Reuters report in December claimed thousands had been arrested and more than 1,500 killed by security forces during two weeks of protests in November, in the bloodiest crackdown on demonstrators since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Trump was not the only foreign official to wade into the campaign, however, with several Western diplomats tweeting their support without the hashtag, calling on the Iranian government to repeal the sentences.
Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ann Linde tweeted: “Sweden strongly opposed the use of the death penalty globally, at all times and in all circumstances. In addition, deeply concerned about recently reconfirmed death sentences of three protesters in Iran.”
While Jeppe Kofod, the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, posted from his personal account: “Deeply concerned by confirmation of death sentences against 3 young men for participating in last year’s protests in Iran… call on authorities to review the cases.”