Iran pardons 22,000 people who took part in protests
The head of Iran's judiciary says 22,000 people arrested in the recent anti-government protests that swept the Islamic Republic have been pardoned.
There was no immediate independent confirmation of the mass release.
Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejehi's comments come as the demonstrations have slowed in recent months over the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in custody after she was detained by the country's morality police.
However, anger remains in the country as it struggles through the collapse of the nation's currency, the rial, economic woes and uncertainty over its ties to the wider world after the collapse of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Ejehi as announcing the figure Monday.
Iranian state media had previously suggested Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could pardon that many people, swept up in the demonstrations, ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Ejehi said a total of 82,656 prisoners and those facing charges had been pardoned.
Of those, some 22,000 had been arrested amid the demonstrations, he said. Those pardoned had not committed theft or violent crimes, he said.
In February, Iran had acknowledged "tens of thousands" had been detained in the protests.
Monday's acknowledgement from Ejehi offered an even higher than what activists had previously cited.
More than 19,700 people have been arrested during the protests, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that's been tracking the crackdown.
At least 530 people have been killed as authorities violently suppressed demonstrations, the group said. Iran has not offered a death toll for months.