A dual American-Iranian citizen and his wife have been sentenced to death by an Iranian court after being convicted of founding a “cult” and “holding mixed parties” that involved serving alcohol, the Financial Times reported Sunday.
Tehran prosecutor-general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said in a statement on Sunday that the case “is related to a woman and man who provided alcoholic drinks, and encouraged corruption and debauchery by holding mixed parties.” Dolatabadi claimed that the man had stored 4,000 liters of alcoholic beverages in his home, in violation of Iranian law.
Though the couple has not been named, it is believed that they are owners of a Tehran art gallery who were arrested last July. They are reported to be members of the Zoroastrian religion, who under Iranian law are allowed to have alcohol for private purposes but forbidden from sharing it with Muslims.
The statement also noted that the couple had allegedly been “exhibiting and selling obscene images at [their] gallery,” and that they had founded “a new cult.”
Another imprisoned dual national is also faring poorly in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, the Daily Mail reported Sunday. Nazanin Zaghari-Radcliffe, a British-Iranian employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation charity, can barely walk due to her deteriorating health, her family claimed. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested last April and separated from her toddler daughter at the airport as she prepared to leave Iran after a visit with her family. She was sentenced to five years in prison in October after being accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
Additionally, human rights campaigner Hengameh Shahidi, who already served two years in prison for protesting the contested 2009 election, was arrested again last Thursday.
For more information about Iran’s history of arresting dual nationals on suspicious charges, read Why Does Iran Keep Taking American Hostages?, published in the September 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine. And for more information about the plight of Zoroastrians in Iran, read The Religion that the Iranian Mullahs Fear Most, published in the May 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine.
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