The Italian prime minister has warned that Rome will consult with allies to take more effective action against Iran’s clerical regime if it doesn’t stop its bloody repression of nationwide protests.
“What is happening today in Iran is unacceptable for us, Italy can no longer tolerate it,” Giorgia Meloni said in an end-of-year press conference on December 29.
Meloni’s comments come a day after Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani summoned the Iranian ambassador to Rome to express his country’s “indignation and worry” over the crackdown, which he said “has nothing to do with protecting national security of the country.”
Tajani also said Italy was asking that Tehran suspend the death penalty in connection with the protests and immediately halt the executions of demonstrators.
Iranians have flooded streets across the country demanding more freedoms and women’s rights since the September death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by morality police for allegedly wearing a hijab "improperly."
The Islamic Republic has responded to the protest movement, the biggest threat to the clerical regime since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with brutal force that human rights groups say has left nearly 500 people dead.
More than 18,000 people have reportedly been arrested, and at least 100 are currently at risk of execution or facing death penalty charges, according to one human rights group, in addition to two young men hanged earlier this month.
The European Union, the United States and other countries have imposed sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities for their roles in the crackdown.