Supreme Court of Iran Rejects Retrial Request of Jewish Death-Row Inmate Arvin Ghahremani

The Supreme Court of Iran has dismissed the retrial request of Arvin Ghahremani (Nathanael), a 20-year-old Iranian Jew sentenced to death for his involvement in a fatal altercation that resulted in the death of one man named Amir Shokri. Ghahremani, who is currently held in Dizelabad Prison in Kermanshah, was rapidly tried and sentenced to death.

Last week, his legal team was informed of the Supreme Court’s decision to reject the retrial application. Amidst growing concerns, several public figures, including prominent artists, are trying to petition the victim’s family for forgiveness, which could potentially halt the execution.

Ghahremani’s case highlights the additional challenges faced by members of religious minorities under Iran’s legal system.

A video recently circulated on social media features Ghahremani’s mother appealing for public support to stop the execution. She pleads, “Pray for Arvin to come back home again.” Dr. Homayoun Sameyah Najafabadi, head of Iran’s Jewish Committee, confirmed that attempts to meet with the victim’s family and the newly appointed Imam of Friday Prayer in Kermanshah, Sheikh Mohammad-Hassan Rahimian, have been rejected. Efforts by the MP from Natanz to mediate were also fruitless, and proposals such as constructing a school in the victim’s name have been declined.

This case has heightened concerns within Iran’s Jewish community. Human rights activists argue that the retribution laws and their uneven application between Muslims and non-Muslims reflect systemic discrimination against religious minorities in Iran. These laws, rooted in religious ideology, often disadvantage non-Muslim citizens.

While Qisas mandates capital punishment if a non-Muslim kills a Muslim, the reverse scenario does not hold—a Muslim who kills a non-Muslim is only obliged to pay blood money. This legal disparity is a significant barrier to a fair trial and the achievement of civil rights in Iran.

The ongoing enforcement of unjust penalties for the murder of non-Muslims has led to numerous extrajudicial killings, especially of Iran’s Baha’i community, by extremist elements.