Iran Set to Execute Another Wrestling Champion

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani / Getty Images
January 11, 2021

The Iranian regime plans to execute another champion wrestler in the coming days, after wrestler Navid Afkari was executed in September.

Tehran is set to execute Mehdi Ali Hosseini, a 29-year-old wrestler, according to the Jerusalem Post. Iranian authorities arrested Hosseini in 2015 on charges of murder during a group brawl.

Afkari faced the death penalty last year on charges of murdering a security guard during a protest, which the wrestler denied. Afkari’s brothers also allegedly confessed to trumped-up charges related to the case after suffering torture at the hands of regime officials. Reza Tabrizi, another Iranian athlete, is currently imprisoned for criticizing the regime, and human-rights experts worry he too may face execution.

U.S. government officials and activists condemned Iran’s decision to execute Hosseini.

"The Iranian regime must be held to account for their vile human-rights abuses and their attempt to cling to power through execution," Ellie Cohanim, the State Department’s deputy special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, told Fox News.

"[Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] is testing the will of the Free World," said Mariam Memarsadeghi, an expert on human rights and the Iranian regime. "The Biden administration and Europe will do him a big favor if they go back to the Iran deal and business as usual."

President-elect Joe Biden has said he hopes to return Washington to the Iran deal if certain conditions are met.