National Security

Trump Calls on Iran to Halt Iranian Wrestler’s Execution

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President Donald Trump called on Iran to stop its planned execution of an Iranian wrestler who protested against the Islamic Republic.

"Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkari, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets," Trump tweeted Thursday. "To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man's life, and not execute him."

The State Department also called for Afkari's release in a Thursday statement. "We join the world in outrage at the Iranian regime's death sentence for Navid Afkari, who was tortured into giving a false confession after participating in peaceful protests in 2018," the statement reads. "The regime also tortured his two brothers and sentenced them to decades in prison. Let them go!"

Former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell highlighted the issue earlier this week when he called on the Olympic organizers to investigate Iran's attempt to silence Afkari.

Iranian authorities arrested the champion wrestler in 2018 for partaking in anti-regime protests. Afkari reportedly confessed to the murder an Iranian security guard after multiple bouts of prolonged torture.

In July, Trump condemned Iran's planned executions of three other Iranians who participated in anti-government protests in 2019.