Iran: Tehran locals react after Khamenei approves pardons for thousands of prisoners

Locals in Tehran expressed their views after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Hosseini Khamenei announced that tens of thousands of prisoners would receive pardons or reduced sentences on Sunday, including those detained in connection with anti-government protests.

“The message of leadership is never without reason. He always conquers the hearts of people and provides them with an insight with his speeches,” said Roohi, a local who supports Khamenei

“He also showed the foreigners that the situation is not the same as what they show. With his speeches he neutralized all the [enemies’] threats, if not terminated them all,” he added.

A second local named Mohamad was less enthusiastic about Khamenei’s proposal, arguing that it is now too late to ‘do any good’.

“Maybe if it had happened at a time before these occurrences [protests], it could result in positive things that could create a good future for us,” he said. In my opinion, such amnesties do not do any good. The subject should be changed from the core.”

According to local media, Ayatollah Khamenei approved the pardon on the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution after receiving a proposal letter from Iran’s Judiciary Chief Gholmhossein Mohseni-Ejei.

However, the amnesties are not without caveats. According to Iran’s leadership, those accused of espionage, intentional murder or injury, destruction of government property and various other crimes will be ineligible for release.

According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Around 20,000 people are thought to have been arrested in crackdowns on protesters following the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s ‘morality police’ in September of last year.

The authorities claimed Amini had a heart attack and described it as an ‘unfortunate accident’, while demonstrators say she was beaten for allegedly not wearing the hijab correctly.

The Iranian government pledged to investigate the death but also vowed to crack down on any ‘chaos’, accusing Western nations of fuelling the ensuing unrest and demonstrations.

According to Iran’s Interior Ministry the official death toll from what it described as ‘riots’, stands at more than 200 people. Human rights organisations put the figure at around double that number.

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