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Dissident’s Disputed Death Decree Draws Denouncements, Diplomatic Discord

Iran’s Saturday execution of journalist Ruhollah Zam has set off a chain of diplomatic incidents, as Tehran on Sunday announced it was summoning the ambassadors of France and Germany to demand clarifications after the two European countries, along with the European Union and several human rights groups, condemned the act. Earlier, the EU reiterated “its irrevocable opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances” and the French Foreign Ministry called Saturday’s execution a “barbaric and unacceptable act” that violated “free expression and press freedom in Iran.” Zam, a dissident pro-reform journalist who had fled to France and was captured by the Iranian military last year in Iraq, was convicted of fomenting violence and unrest during the 2017 anti-government protests in the Islamic Republic. The mass demonstrations over Iran’s dire economic situation led to thousands of arrests and 21 dead protesters.