23 February 2023 :
(February 22, 2023) - Germany on Wednesday said it was expelling two diplomats from the Iranian embassy in Berlin over the death sentence an Iranian court handed down against an Iranian-German national.
After the death penalty verdict Tuesday against Jamshid Sharmahd, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement Berlin was "declaring two Iranian embassy staff members to be persona non grata" and "ordering them to leave Germany immediately".
Baerbock said she had summoned Iran's charge d'affaires over the case of Sharmahd, who supporters say was abducted abroad and forcibly returned to Iran for a show trial.
"We call on Iran to reverse the death penalty for Jamshid Sharmahd and to make it possible for him to have a fair appeal based on the rule of law," she said.
The Tehran Revolutionary Court convicted Sharmahd, 67, in connection with the deadly bombing of a mosque in 2008, the judiciary's Mizan Online website reported.
Iranian authorities announced in August 2020 that Sharmahd, who is also a German national and a US resident, was arrested in what they described as a "complex operation" without specifying how, where or when he was seized.
His family say that he was abducted by the Iranian security services while in transit in Dubai and then brought under duress to the Islamic republic.
Baerbock had condemned the ruling on Tuesday as "absolutely unacceptable" and promised a "strong reaction" to the decision, resulting in Wednesday's expulsion.
"Not only is the death penalty cruel, inhuman and degrading, but Jamshid Sharmahd has never had anything approaching a fair trial," Baerbock said.
The German foreign minister has been at the forefront of Western voices condemning Tehran's bloody crackdown on demonstrations and the executions of anti-government protesters. Hands Off Cain yesterday published the news that Minister Baerbock was against the Iranian body of the "Guardians of the Revolution" (IRGC) being included in the list of terrorist groups of the European Community.
Sharmahd is accused by Iran of leading the Tondar group which aims to topple the Islamic republic and is outlawed as a terrorist organisation by Iran.
Mizan said Sharmahd planned to commit 23 "terrorist" acts, of which he succeeded in five, including the bombing of a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz on April 12, 2008, which killed 14 people and wounded 300 others.
Prosecutors had also accused Sharmahd of having established contact with "FBI and CIA officers" and of having "attempted to contact Israeli Mossad agents".
In 2009, Iran convicted and hanged three men for the Shiraz bombing, claiming they had links to the monarchist group and had taken their orders from "an Iranian CIA agent" based in the US in an attempt to assassinate a senior official in Iran.
Sharmahd's family have ridiculed the charges.
"All of the charges are fabricated charges. They are scapegoating my dad who is innocent," his daughter Gazelle told AFP when his trial got underway last year.
The family says Sharmahd, a software designer, became involved with Tondar, also known as Kingdom Assembly of Iran and designed their website.
"They kidnapped Jamshid Sharmahd and now they've sentenced him to death after a sham trial," said the head of the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam.
"Basically the Islamic republic is threatening to kill a hostage," he added.