Tajik National sentenced to death over Shah Cheragh Mausoleum attack in Iran

Iran’s judiciary has handed down a death sentence to Rahmatollah Nouruzof, a Tajik national, for his involvement in an attack on the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in Shiraz last month, resulting in the deaths of two individuals.

Kazem Mousavi, the head of the judiciary in Fars Province, revealed that Nouruzof, also known as Mostafa Islam-Yar, confessed to having connections with the Islamic State (IS). The charges against him included “waging war against God,” “corruption on Earth,” and “conspiring against national security.” Notably, he received the death penalty on two of these charges.

The attack on the Shah Cheragh shrine, occurring on August 13, marked the second such incident in a year. The initial report of the attack indicated four casualties and at least seven injuries, but recent updates confirmed two deaths and seven injuries.

On September 21, the judiciary announced that two minor suspects, who were found unaware of the primary attacker’s intentions, were sentenced to five years of discretionary imprisonment and expulsion from Iran.

It’s worth noting that a prior attack in October 2022, claimed by IS, resulted in 13 deaths and numerous injuries. Iran’s Intelligence Ministry revealed in November 2022 that a citizen of Azerbaijan played a central role in directing and coordinating these attacks within the country. Subsequently, 26 foreign nationals, primarily from Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, were detained in connection with the case.

In December, indictments were issued against five individuals linked to the Shah Cheragh attack. Two of them, Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Seyed Naeim Hashemi Qatali, both foreign nationals and IS members, were sentenced to public execution by Shiraz’s Revolutionary Court in early 2023. The remaining detainees received lengthy prison sentences.

The execution of the two Afghan nationals in July drew concerns from human rights advocates who questioned the fairness of the judicial process and the validity of the evidence against them. This development is part of a broader trend in Iran, characterized by a surge in executions this year, leading to both domestic and international condemnation. Critics have raised issues about rushed judgements, “sham” trials and forced confessions within the Iranian judicial system.