EU condemns Iran over death penalty for Iranian-German dual national

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The European Union on Thursday condemned a death penalty imposed by an Iranian court on a Iranian-German dual national and expressed concern about the increasing number of EU citizens in Iran’s jails.

Tehran’s Revolutionary Court convicted Jamshid Sharmahd, 67, on Tuesday on charges of playing a role in a deadly 2008 mosque bombing.

His family says he was kidnapped by the Iranian security services and then taken to Iran for a show trial.

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“The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the unacceptable sentencing to death of Jamshid Sharmahd,” the European Union said in a statement supporting a stance taken by EU member Germany.

“We are in close touch with the German authorities. We will make every effort to advocate for a judicial review in full respect of due process rights and the right of appeal. Consular access has to be granted.”

The statement said the bloc had a united position on EU citizens detained in Iran and opposed the use of the death penalty anywhere, in any circumstance.

“The increasing number of EU citizens currently detained by Iran on spurious grounds is of great concern,” it said, amid concerns that Iran, under pressure from an internal revolt and international sanctions, is resorting to hostage-taking.

Germany on Wednesday said it was expelling two Iranian diplomats in response to the death sentence against Sharmahd, who is also a US resident.

Iran is holding at least 17 Western citizens, most of them dual nationals, including Sharmahd.

Rights groups and supporters say they are part of a policy of hostage-taking by Iran to extract concessions from foreign governments.

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