MEK Iran: Dual Nationals to Suffer
Iran’s Nour News Agency, which is connected to the country’s Supreme National Security Council, reported on Tuesday that an anonymous government official said Tehran was abandoning negotiations for prisoner swaps with the US.
The government transitions
As the government transitions from pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani to avowed hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the statement is likely a sign of the regime hardening its stance on foreign and dual nationals.
According to the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI / MEK Iran), and the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in a ceremony on Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei formally recognized Raisi as the future president, laying the scene for his formal inauguration on Thursday.
Seizure of a tanker ship in the UAE port of Fujairah
The incident on Tuesday also happened to coincide with the temporary seizure of a tanker ship in the UAE port of Fujairah. Two crew members on another vessel were killed last week by an explosives-laden drone suspected to be from the Islamic Republic.
Many observers saw the attacks as a foreshadowing of more escalation once Raisi assumes office. The planned detention of American citizens in Iranian prisons demonstrates the potential connections between these two categories of issues, and Iran’s Resistance movement will no doubt emphasize them in the hopes of persuading Western policymakers that assertive dealings with the Raisi administration would be in their own countries’ interests as well as the Iranian people’s.
Early in the Covid-19 outbreak, regime officials claimed to have released thousands of prisoners on furlough to reduce the risk of transfer, but these claims could never be fully verified, and in any case, the relevant statements tended to specify that political prisoners and those accused of “national security” crimes would be excluded from furlough arrangements.
Iranian citizenship was sentenced
On the same day as their harsh sentence, three other campaigners with solely Iranian citizenship were sentenced. Their sentences range from two years and eight months to six years and eight months, despite the fact that they were charged with similar political charges.
Raoof and Taghavi’s heavier penalties may have been influenced by a long history of paranoia and persecution directed against dual nationals, who are often accused of espionage or collusion with “hostile” foreign powers based on the weakest evidence.
Political prisoners under the Raisi era
However, this does not imply that other types of political prisoners will be treated better during the Raisi era. In keeping with the next president’s lengthy history of human rights abuses involving Iranian regime adversaries, their prosecution, sentence, and extrajudicial punishment are likely to accelerate as well.
He was a significant figure in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988, and as head of the judiciary beginning in November 2019, he led portions of the regime’s assault on political activism in the aftermath of that month’s widespread anti-government movement.
Protests broke out around the country
The vast majority of eligible voters in Iran boycotted the closely controlled election that brought Raisi to power in June, and the day after his “victory” was declared, protests broke out around the country over a variety of issues.
Water shortages in Khuzestan Province sparked widespread protests in mid-July, first in that province and then across the country.
When large-scale unrest occurs, Tehran always tries to deflect blame by blaming it on foreign infiltration, and this will almost certainly give the Raisi administration more reason to inflict punishments for those who have lived outside the Islamic Republic.