December 13, 2020

(Reuters) – Iran has summoned the ambassador of Germany, current holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, over EU criticism of the execution of an Iranian journalist, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also plans on Sunday to summon the French envoy to Tehran, the semi-official Fars news agency said. France also strongly criticised the execution on Saturday of dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who had been based in Paris before he was captured and taken to Iran.

Zam was convicted of fomenting violence during anti-government protests in 2017. His Amadnews feed had more than 1 million followers.

The EU said in a statement after his execution: “The European Union condemns this act in the strongest terms and recalls once again its irrevocable opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances.”

The French Foreign Ministry called the execution a “barbaricand unacceptable act”, saying in a statement: “Francecondemns in the strongest possible terms this serious breach offree expression and press freedom in Iran.”

Amnesty International and press advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also condemned the execution.

Iranian officials have accused the United States, as well asTehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and government opponentsliving in exile, of stoking the unrest that began in late 2017as regional protests over economic hardship spread nationwide.

Officials said 21 people were killed during the unrest andthousands were arrested. The unrest was among the worst Iran hasseen in decades, and was followed by even deadlier protests lastyear against fuel price rises.

(dubai.newsroom@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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