Academic Article

The politics of capital punishment for foreign nationals in Iran

By Death Penalty Research Unit (DPRU), University of Oxford, on 5 February 2024

Published in December 2023.

This paper seeks to map the political economy of capital punishment in Iran, in particular in relation to dual and foreign nationals, and examines its external and internal functions. The external functions include suppressing the ‘cultural threat’ of cross-border drug trafficking, achieving more power in sanctions negotiations, seeking reciprocal prisoner swaps or demanding recompense for outstanding multinational debt. The internal functions include quashing protests against the regime, supressing separatist movements, or even just ‘otherness’. It is evident that those facing disadvantage across foreign national and intersectional lines face the death penalty disproportionately. In addition, although only representing a fraction of the overall population of death row, the arbitrary detention of dual nationals has a disproportionate political function.

  • Document type Academic Article
  • Countries list Iran (Islamic Republic of)