Iran Agrees to Pardon 'Tens of Thousands' of Prisoners

    Iran Agrees to Pardon 'Tens of Thousands' of Prisoners
    Last updated Feb 07, 2023
    Image credit: Wana News Agency/Reuters [via The Guardian]


    • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has agreed to "pardon or commute" the sentences of tens of thousands of prisoners as part of an annual amnesty to celebrate the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, state media reported on Sunday.[1]
    • While this pardon will apply to anti-government demonstrators who asked for forgiveness, Iran's official judiciary news agency stated that it will exclude anyone charged with violent crimes, arson, or who had any contact with foreign intelligence services.[2]
    • The conditional amnesty, which requires prisoners to admit and regret their crimes, was proposed by Iran's Chief Justice Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei as an act of reconciliation after the recent repression of anti-government street protests.[3]
    • The pardon decree marked the first time that the government acknowledged the scale of the crackdowns by mentioning the "tens of thousands" who were arrested, a figure that the NGO Human Rights Activists in Iran estimates to be over 19.6K.[4]
    • Though Tehran has not specified a death toll for months, at least 527 people have reportedly been killed by security forces in the protests. In addition, four people who were detained have been executed following trials that were criticized by the international community.[5]
    • Nationwide anti-government demonstrations rocked the country starting last September after the death of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran's morality police for violating Islamic dress codes.[6]



    This clemency granted to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution is a welcomed move to restore national unity and cohesion, saving Iranian youth who were deceived by the enemy's conspiracy to take part in the recent wave of unrest in the country. This is welcomed by Iranians across the country as a countermeasure to foreign plots.


    This move is merely an Iranian regime propaganda move. It will not impact the vast majority of political prisoners as the eligibility criteria for the amnesty has excluded most demonstrators. As such, it is unlikely that this imitation of clemency will appease protesters who have demanded Khamenei to be ousted. Tens of thousands of Iranians still linger in state jails as political prisoners.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 18% chance that Ali Khameini will cease to be Supreme Leader of Iran by 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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