A handout photo made available by the Iranian supreme leader's office shows Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praying with little Iranian girls during a ceremony called 'Angels celebration' in Tehran on Friday. Photo by Khamenei Office/EPA-EFE
Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, agreed Sunday to pardon "tens of thousands" of protesters who were arrested after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
The decision was announced by the Islamic Republic News Agency, the official news agency for the country owned and controlled by the government.
"Ayatollah Khamenei has agreed to amnesty and reduced punishment for tens of thousands of convicts, including the detainees of the recent riots in Iran," the statement from IRNA reads.
The "convicts" will only receive pardons or reduced sentences if they "did not commit espionage for the benefit of foreigners" or have direct contact with agents of foreign intelligence services.
Prisoners who were convicted of assault or murder, or arson of government or military facilities, will also not receive pardons, according to IRNA.
The decision comes after Iranian government has received international backlash to its handling of widespread protests in the country, which some have called a revolution.
Iran announced in December that it would shut down the country's controversial morality police after months of unrest following the death of Amini, who died in custody after she was arrested for not properly wearing a hijab.
An Iranian court sentenced a protester to death on charges of "enmity against God" in November, who was accused of setting fire to a government center.
The first execution was conducted in December of another man, Mohsen Shekari, who was found guilty of "enmity against God" for blocking a main road in Tehran during a protest and injuring a member of the paramilitary with a machete.
At least two other men have since been executed for participating in the widespread protests, as well as a British-Iranian citizen accused of spying for British intelligence.