Iran executed an Iranian-Swedish dual national on Saturday accused of masterminding a 2018 attack on a military parade that killed at least 25 people, one of several enemies of Tehran seized abroad in recent years amid tensions with the West.
Farajollah Cha’ab, also known as Habib Asyoud, had been a leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, an Arab separatist movement that has conducted oil pipeline bombings and other attacks in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province.
That group had claimed the 2018 attack in its immediate aftermath.
Cha’ab’s execution comes as a Swedish court last year sentenced an Iranian to life in prison over his part in the 1988 mass executions in Iran at the end of its war with Iraq.
Tehran, which has used prisoners as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West, reacted angrily to that sentence.
Meanwhile, tensions also remain high between Iran and the West over its rapidly advancing nuclear program as well — and at least one more prisoner with western ties faces a possible execution.
The Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency confirmed Cha’ab’s execution by hanging in a lengthy statement.
It identified him as the leader of the militant group and alleged without providing evidence that he had ties to Swedish, Israeli and US intelligence services. It accused his group of killing or wounding 450 people over the years, including multiple attacks on government offices and other sites. It also included state television interviews with Cha’ab, a feature of many Iranian trials that activists long have described as coerced confessions.
It also for the first time clearly identified Iranian intelligence officers as being behind Cha’ab’s abduction, saying that its “unknown soldiers” captured him in Turkey in November 2019. Iran has used similar ruses to capture its enemies abroad.
Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billstrom condemned Cha’ab’s execution. “The death penalty is an inhumane and irrevocable punishment, and Sweden, together with the rest of the (EU), condemns its use under all circumstances,” he said in a statement.