This is all so unbelievably depressing:
Iran on Thursday executed two men accused of involvement in an armed anti-government group, as the public prosecutor announced that new death sentences have been issued against opposition activists involved in protests over June’s disputed presidential election.
The two men, who were hanged before dawn Tuesday, did not appear to be connected to the postelection protests – at least one of them was arrested before the election, according to his lawyer.
But state media depicted the two as part of the protest movement, a sign of how the government has lumped together many of its enemies with the political opposition amid its postelection crackdown. The media’s depiction of the executions may aim to intimidate the opposition ahead of new street demonstrations expected in February.
In a further move likely aimed at cowing protesters, Tehran’s prosecutor announced that five people have been sentenced to death for involvement in the most recent major demonstrations, on Dec. 27. That day saw the worst violence of postelection crackdown, with at least eight people killed in clashes between police and protesters and hundreds arrested.
The new verdicts raise to nine the number of people sentenced to death for involvement in protests, said the prosecutor, Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi.
Of course, this means that the regime still fears that an upheaval might remove it from power. But as I have noted before, while the regime may eventually fall, there is a question as to what the body count will be before it finally departs the political stage. We now have every reason to fear that the count will be high.