Iran’s judiciary spokesperson reportedly said Tuesday that 40 foreign nationals have been detained for participating in recent anti-regime protests.
The individuals whose nationalities have not been revealed were arrested in accordance with Iranian laws, Iran’s judiciary spokesperson, Masoud Setayeshi, said in a regular news briefing, state media Mehr News reported.
As Iran enters its ninth week of public unrest following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, the country’s Revolutionary Court has in the past week issued its first slew of death sentences to protesters for their roles in one of the largest sustained challenges to Iran’s regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In late September, nine Europeans from France, Sweden, Italy, Germany among other countries were arrested by the Iranian government for their involvement in the protests.
“The arrests show that support of foreign governments [for] Iranian protesters is not merely verbal, a fact that will have consequential effect on the protests’ trajectory,” Middle East Institute’s senior research fellow Asif Shuja told CNBC.
Two weeks ago, Iran’s judiciary announced that 1,024 indictments had been issued in relation to the protests in Tehran alone, according to human rights organization Amnesty International. Out of this number, 21 detainees were charged with security-related offenses punishable by death.
Uprisings against the regime erupted two months ago when Amini, who was arrested by the country’s “morality police” for breaking Iran’s strict rules on wearing the hijab, died while in custody reportedly from suffering multiple blows to the head. Iranian authorities claimed she died of a heart attack, but her family and masses of Iranians accuse the government of a cover-up.
Iran currently holds second place for the highest number of recorded executions, behind China.
At least 378 people have been killed in the nationwide protests, according to Norway-based nongovernmental organization Iran Human Rights.