Iran summons German, French envoys over EU condemning dissident's execution

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Ruhollah Zam, shown here in June, was sentenced to death that month, and was executed on Saturday

Iran's foreign ministry Sunday summoned Germany and France's envoys to protest EU condemnation of the execution of an opposition figure, describing it as an "unacceptable interference" in Tehran's affairs, state media reported.

Ruhollah Zam was hanged on Saturday after Iran's supreme court upheld his death sentence passed in June over his role in protests during the winter of 2017-18, among other charges.

The EU in a statement on Saturday condemned the execution in the "strongest terms" and emphasised its "irrevocable opposition to the use of capital punishment".

The Iranian foreign ministry's Europe director in turn told Germany's ambassador, Hans-Udo Muzel, that Tehran "condemned" the statement, which it deemed "an unacceptable interference in Iran's domestic affairs," state news agency IRNA said.

Iran also protested the "indulgence towards elements spreading violence and committing terrorist acts" against Iran shown by "some European countries", IRNA added.

Germany currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency.

IRNA reported later Sunday that the foreign ministry also summoned France's ambassador to Tehran, Philippe Thiebaud, following the "interventionist statement by the French foreign ministry on the carrying out of Zam's death sentence".

Zam was granted political asylum in France and reportedly lived in Paris before his arrest last year by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who claimed he had been "directed by France's intelligence service".

France's foreign ministry had decried Zam's hanging, calling it "an unacceptable and barbaric act" and a "serious attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press".

Zam was charged with "corruption on earth", one of the most serious offences under Iranian law.

IRNA also said he was convicted of espionage for France and an unnamed country in the region, cooperating with the "hostile government of America", acting against "the country's security", insulting the "sanctity of Islam" and instigating violence during protests in 2017.

At least 25 people were killed during the unrest in December 2017 and January 2018 that was sparked by economic hardship.

As his trial started, state television broadcast a "documentary" about Zam's "relations" with the Islamic republic's foes.

The broadcaster also aired an "interview" with him in July, in which he is seen saying he believed in reformism until he was detained in 2009 during protests against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The EU's External Action Service had said Saturday that it was "imperative for the Iranian authorities to uphold the due process rights of accused individuals and to cease the practice of using televised confessions to establish and promote their guilt".


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