Iran Hangs Two Men on Rare Blasphemy Charges

    Iran Hangs Two Men on Rare Blasphemy Charges
    Last updated May 09, 2023
    Image credit: aljazeera


    • On Monday, Iran executed Yousef Mehrdad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare. The two were convicted of burning the Quran and insulting the Prophet of Islam, according to the country's judiciary.[1]
    • The men were first arrested in May 2020, and were then sentenced to death in April 2021 for running online "anti-Islam groups and channels," including the Telegram channel "Critique of Superstition and Religion."[2]
    • The duo was also accused of running multiple social media accounts "dedicated to atheism and desecration of the sanctities."[3]
    • The US Commission on International Religious Freedom alleges that Mehrdad and Zare were held in solitary confinement for months and had meetings with their families denied.[4]
    • This news comes after Iran hanged a Swedish-Iranian dual national on Saturday — he had been accused of being "corrupt on earth" for allegedly plotting and carrying out terrorist attacks.[5]
    • According to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group, the country has put at least 203 prisoners to death this year, making it one of the world's most prominent executioners. In 2022, Iran reportedly executed at least 582 people, up from 333 in 2021.[6]


    Narrative A

    These men promoted atheism, burned the sacred Quran, and organized anti-religious activities online to sway others to join their movement. Iran had no choice but to execute the anti-Islamic propagandists who sought to desecrate and blaspheme the country's culture and religion.

    Narrative B

    Iran has again shown a complete lack of respect for fundamental human rights, resorting to draconian measures for people who disobey their Islamic theocracy. Torturing and executing civilians for not believing in the state's religion is criminal. The international community must act swiftly to stop Iran from committing further human rights abuses.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Iran will cease to be an Islamic Republic by April 2038, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story

    Sign up to our newsletter!