03/30/2021, 00.00
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Tehran pardons over 1,800 prisoners, even those jailed for 'security' crimes

November 2019 protesters of fuel hikes among pardoned. Analysts define the release of such a large number of detainees for crimes against the state "very rare". The new Silk Road unites Tehran and Beijing in an anti-American key.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - On the advice of supreme leader Ali Khamenei, the Iranian authorities have pardoned or commuted the prison sentences of over 1,800 prisoners, including 100 people convicted of crimes related to "security".

The measure came yesterday, on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of the twelfth Shiite imam, Mahdi, and the feast of the Islamic Republic which falls this year on April 1. Those pardoned include people who had participated in the popular protests of November 2019 against the increase in prices, in particular those of fuel.

Analysts and experts point out that it is "very rare" to see the release of such a large number of people convicted of crimes against the state in Iran. Tehran has always strongly denied the presence of "political prisoners" inside its prisons. Each year the supreme leader grants various collective pardons on the occasion of major religious holidays or on the proposal of the head of the judiciary.

Mizan Online, the official agency of the judicial authority, reports that the supreme guide "has agreed to grant his pardon or reduction of sentence to 1849 condemned". A measure taken on the occasion of the birth of Imam Mahdi, who will come at the end of time to inaugurate a kingdom of justice.

"One hundred convicted - continues the agency, without providing particular details - for reasons related to state security are included in the list of pardoned, which also includes a certain number of people sentenced for the events of November 2019".

The steep rise in prices in the autumn two years ago triggered a wave of protests in several cities, including the capital Tehran, which was forcibly repressed by the authorities. According to NGOs and human rights activists, the brutal intervention of the police and para-military groups caused at least 304 victims. At the time, the United Nations denounced "massive arrests" and most of the people arrested are still in prison.

Meanwhile, China and Iran, both subject to US sanctions, have recently signed a 25-year cooperation agreement to strengthen economic, political, commercial and strategic ties. The signing comes in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also called "the new Silk Road"), a mega infrastructure project launched by Beijing that aims to unite East Asia with Europe. "The collaboration between the two countries - said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani - is very important for the implementation of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) and the fulfilment of obligations by European nations".

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