TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran will “soon execute” nine people arrested during anti-government protests for seeking to topple the Islamic regime, Fars news agency on Tuesday quoted a senior judiciary official as saying.
“The two people executed and another nine who will soon be executed were definitely arrested in recent riots and each was linked with counter-revolutionary movements,” deputy judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi told a meeting in the holy city of Qom late Monday.
“They had participated in riots with the aim of creating disunity and toppling the system,” he added.
Iran executed Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, 37, and Arash Rahmani Pour, 20, last Thursday on charges of seeking to topple the regime.
The two dissidents belonged to the monarchist group Tondar (the Kingdom Assembly of Iran), according to Iranian media reports.
Their hangings were the first reported executions of people tried since the wave of protests that broke out following the re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a highly disputed June 12 poll.
The executions drew international condemnation and were branded by opposition leaders as an effort to scare protesters and keep them off the streets.
Opposition supporters are planning to demonstrate again during an annual state-sponsored march on February 11 when Iran marks the 31th anniversary of its Islamic revolution.
Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi condemned the hangings and alleged the pair appeared to have been arrested months before the presidential election and had nothing to do with the post-poll violence.
But prominent hardline official Ayatollah Ahmad Janati praised the judiciary for the hangings.
“May God not have mercy on those who are lenient with the corrupt on earth. There is no room for clemency but it is time for severity,” he told the last Friday prayers in Tehran.
Janati is a key backer of Ahmadinejad and heads the powerful electoral watchdog, Guardians Council, whose handling of the June vote has been at the centre of opposition protests.
On Tuesday, Mousavi, who ran against Ahmadinejad and charged the election was massively rigged, again condemned the executions and took a swipe at Janati over his comments.
“People have realised that some may be sent to their death as a result of petty deals and without respecting the law so that a heartless Friday prayer speaker … cheers the judiciary,” Mousavi said on his kaleme.org website.
“He (Janati) is unaware of the effective power of innocent blood and does not know that the blood of martyrs destroyed the Shah’s regime,” he said, referring to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was toppled in the 1979 revolution.