Iran Executes Wrestler Despite World Outcry, Continues to Oppress Protesters; Iran’s Currency Sinks Lower; Iran Starts Military Exercise, Builds New Centrifuge Facility

Iran executed wrestling champion Navid Afkari. The 24-year old wrestler had participated in demonstrations against the Iranian regime last year, and many believe the government wanted to make an example of him. Iran accused Afkari of stabbing a water supply company employee during the protests. Although Iran claimed Afkari confessed, Afkari said the confession was coerced by torture. In a tape obtained by an Iranian human rights group, Afkani said, “There is not one shred of evidence in this damned case that shows I’m guilty. But they don’t want to listen to us. I realized they are looking for a neck for their rope.” Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said, “The people of Iran, especially the courageous youth, will not remain silent vis-à-vis the savage execution of this brave son of Shiraz and will rise up in solidarity with the heroic people of Fars Province over his unjust execution.”  Reported by Fox News. Read more… Reported by The Guardian Read more… Iran continues its oppression of protesters, allegedly arresting and torturing thousands in the wake of mass protests in November 2019. Amnesty International reports that detainees, including children, were subjected to beatings, extreme temperatures, stress positions, and electrocution. The group also claims it has collected the names of more than 500 people investigated by Iranian authorities, three of whom have been sentenced to death. Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Meanwhile, Iran’s currency hit a new low against the U.S. dollar. The rial has dropped almost 30% in value under severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on Iran. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Nonetheless, Iran has commenced an expensive three-day annual war military exercise in the Strait of Hormuz.  The maneuvers are taking place amid increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Units from Iran’s navy, air force, and army are cooperating over an area of nearly 772,200 square miles that includes parts of the Gulf of Oman. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… Iran is also reported to be building a new centrifuge site to replace the one at Natanz, which was destroyed by an explosion on July 2. Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…