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According to Iran’s Human Rights Monitor, 117 prisoners are going to be hanged within a month in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran, according to prisoners’ families and informed sources inside jails.The families of some inmates who were transferred to solitary confinement during the past few days in preparation for their executions, referred to Gohardasht Prison to have the last visit with their loved ones. Execution days have been increased from once a week on Wednesdays to twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays as the authorities are expected to hasten the process.

Iran’s repressive regime is often berated for its curtailment of freedom of expression. The situation is much different from pre-revolution days when the country under Shah of Iran was deemed “Western”.On Sunday 10 people were executed in various parts of the country.Earlier, three inmates were hanged in northwestern Iran on Saturday.

According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) about 203 people were executed till October last year. However, according to various estimates, the executions totaled 437 with most of them taking place in the second half of the year.

In December 2015, members of Parliament introduced a bill to eliminate the death penalty for drug offenses that do not involve violence. However, the initiative, while welcomed by several authorities, has not moved forward.

Despite condemnations from the international community, officials defend public executions. “The implementation of the death sentence is the right of the people and is carried out by the victim’s family,” said Garib Abadi, Assistant Head of International Affairs at the Judiciary’s Human Rights Staff.

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Under Iranian law, crimes such as “insulting the Prophet,” apostasy, same-sex relations, adultery, and drug-related offenses, are punishable by death. In December 2015, members of Parliament introduced a bill to eliminate the death penalty for drug offenses that do not involve violence. However, the initiative, while welcomed by several authorities, has not moved forward.

Iran re-elected a seemingly moderate Hasan Rouhani in the Presidential elections in May. However, the theocracy side of the Iranian polity holds the strings with the Supreme Leader calling the shots.

Iranian authorities are severe in tackling with dissent and any attempts at openness. A woman was arrested in the in the port city of Bushehr, southern Iran after her images were broadcast in social media while walking around without wearing the veil, according to the state-run ROKNA news agency report on July 14, 2017.

265 members of the European Parliament released a statement last month in which human rights abuses in Iran were vociferously condemned.

Iranian authorities are particularly severe on the freedom of expression. Bloggers and journalists are arrested and charged with impunity. While social media sites have been blocked from time to time, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC) heavily monitors the activities of the citizens on various social media platforms.

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International condemnations

Tehran has been censured her for its human rights violations. The IGRC has particularly come under immense criticism. 265 members of the European Parliament released a statement last month in which human rights abuses in Iran were vociferously condemned.

“Recently the Iranian regime held a presidential election. In our view, this was a fake election because there were no opposition candidates and people just has the choice of choosing between several senior mullahs. Hassan Rouhani who is starting his second term, is no moderate or reformist. During his first 4 years, Iran was the number one in the world for the highest number of executions per capita,” the statement read.

The European parliamentarians also called upon states to condition their relations with Tehran to progress on human rights.

With the country already under massive pressure to mend its ways, violations galore on the domestic front may go on to hurt Iran.

Various other organizations such as the Amnesty International and the Reporters Without Borders have condemned Iran for its surge against activists and journalists alike.Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the increase in Internet censorship and harassment of citizen-journalists in Iran. According to RSF’s tally, 94 Internet users, mainly users of the instant messaging service Telegram, have been arrested since the start of the year. RSF said that more and more journalists are falling victim to the war between different government factions.

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While the “geopolitical surge” against Iran has helped the country garner some degree of international sympathy, its human rights abuses find no favors. With the country already under massive pressure to mend its ways, violations galore on the domestic front may go on to hurt Iran.

The US has already started talking about regime change in Iran.It is important to note that activists and campaigners for a freer Iran may welcome the change.

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