The Islamic republic has been rocked by civil unrest since the death on September 16 of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish Amini, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

The latest sentences, which can still be appealed, bring to 17 the total number of people sentenced to death in relation to the more than three months of protests.

Four of those convicted have been executed and two others are on death row after the country’s Supreme Court upheld their sentences.

Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were sentenced to death on charges of “moharebeh” (waging “war against God”) under Iran’s Islamic sharia law, the judiciary’s Mizan Online news website reported.

In addition, they were all found guilty of belonging to a “criminal group with the intent to disturb the security of the country”, a charge that carries a sentence of 10 years in prison.

Two others were sentenced to prison for the incident that led to the death of the three members of the security forces in the central province of Isfahan on November 16, Mizan said.

One of them is professional footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani, 26, who received sentences totaling 26 years in prison for three different charges, including assisting in “moharebeh”.

However, according to Iranian law, he would have to serve them at the same time, which means he would be behind bars for 16 years, he said.

The Nasr-Azadani case and the risk of his being sentenced to death had raised alarms abroad, mainly in FIFPRO, the global union of professional footballers.

All announced sentences can be appealed to the country’s highest court, Mizan said.

Mizan posted videos of the court sessions, along with CCTV footage purporting to show the crimes being committed and the defendants’ confessions.

Iranian authorities say hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed and thousands arrested during the protests, which they have broadly described as “riots.”

Tehran accuses hostile foreign countries and opposition groups of stoking the unrest.

On Saturday, Iran executed Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini for killing a member of paramilitary forces in November, in Karaj, west of Tehran.

Two other men, Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, were executed in December after being convicted of separate attacks on security forces.

The executions have sparked global outrage and new Western sanctions against Tehran.

According to the London-based human rights group Amnesty International, Iran ranks second only to China in the use of the death penalty, with at least 314 people executed in 2021.

AFP