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Germany expels 2 Iranian embassy employees over death sentence

Iran’s sentencing a German national to death has prompted Germany to declare two employees of the Iranian embassy personae non gratae and ordered them to leave the country, a statement from the foreign office said on Wednesday.

Iran’s charge d’affaires was summoned, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement, adding that “he was informed that we do not accept the massive violation of the rights of a German citizen.”

“We call on Iran to revoke Jamshid Sharmahd’s death sentence and provide him with a fair appeal process based on the rule of law,” she added.

The sentence drew out a condemnation from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who dubbed the ruling unacceptable. The top German official also called on Iran to reverse the ruling.

The Iranian regime fights its own people in every possible way and disregards human rights,” Scholz wrote on Twitter.

Sharmahd, a German-Iranian national, was sentenced to death on charges of “corruption on earth”, the judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported on Tuesday.

The verdict is appealable.

Jamshid Sharmahd, 67, is a German-Iranian journalist and software engineer. Born in Tehran, he moved with his family to Germany when he was seven years old. He has been a German citizen since 1995, established his own software company, and moved to the United States in 2003.

The Intelligence of the Islamic Regime arrested Sharmahd in late July 2020 in Dubai and brought him to Iran.

On Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said that the German consulate in Iran was working to provide further support to the dual national and was in touch with the man’s relatives.

We will continue to provide consular support to the extent that this is possible. I have already explained how difficult this is in Iran,” the spokesperson said. “This is a first-instance verdict and we will follow the progress of the situation.”

Also holding U.S. residency, Sharmahd faces Iranian accusations of heading a pro-monarchist group accused of a deadly 2008 bombing and planning other attacks in the country.

The recent months have seen a spike in tensions between Iran and the West which have further undermined months-long efforts to revive talks on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The protests that erupted in Iran in September last year following the killing of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini by Iran’s morality police in the capital of Tehran saw a brutal police crackdown on the protesters. Germany has been a vocal backer of European Union sanctions against Iran over its crackdown on protesters in the country. The bloc plans to widen the measures to include Iranian actors involved in the Russian war in Ukraine.

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