(Wikipedia) - In 2011, Iran is on course for a record year in executions. In 2010, according to Amnesty International, 253 people were executed, though an additional 300 people are also believed to have been killed. In the first six months of 2011, according to Amnesty, Iran has acknowledged the execution of 190 people but at least 130 others have also been reported to have been executed. That is an average of almost two executions a day. Other Human Rights groups place the execution count even higher.
By the end of November, Amnesty reported that at least 600 people had been executed in Iran.
By January 16, 2011, the Iranian government had reportedly executed 47 people since the New Year; an average of about three people a day. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran decried the hangings as "an execution binge orchestrated by the intelligence and security agencies."
By the end of the month, the United Nations reported that Iran had executed at least 66 people, including three known to be political dissidents. According to the UN, executions are running at triple the rate of the previous year when about 18 to 25 people were executed a month. The UN estimates about 300 executions occurred in Iran in 2010. Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated, "We have urged Iran, time and time again, to halt executions... I am very dismayed that instead of heeding our calls, the Iranian authorities appear to have stepped up the use of the death penalty... I call upon Iran to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty." At the time, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast blasted the West for condemning Iran's executions. He said that 80 percent of those hanged were drug smugglers and stated, "If Iran does not combat drugs, Europe and the West will be hurt."
Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, as well as commentators assert that the Iranian regime has stepped up executions in a bid to intimidate and silence the Iranian opposition from taking to the streets like in the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests.
In May 2011, Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, threatened to allow the transit of illegal drugs through Iranian territory to Europe if the West continued to criticize the Iranian government for its practice of executing drug traffickers. Larijani stated that ceasing the practice would reduce the overall number of executions in Iran by 74 percent "but the way will be paved for the smuggling of narcotics to Europe." Rise in execution rate in Iran increased sharply after his brother Sheikh Sadegh Larijani became the head of Iranian judiciary in 2009 after his predecessor Ayatollah Shahroudi refrained from ordering executions.
In December 2011, Amnesty International reported that 600 people had been executed in Iran through the end of November, with 488 of the executions carried out for alleged drug offenses. Amnesty warned of a "new wave of drug offense executions" based on its figures that showed a threefold increase in drug-related executions from 2009. The report said that Afghan nationals were particularly at risk for drug offense, with as many as 4,000 Afghans on death row in Iran.
On April 27, 2011, human rights group Amnesty International condemned the sharp rise in the rate of public executions in Iran this year. By that date, Amnesty reported as many as 13 had been hanged in public, compared to 14 in all of 2010. The figure also included the first executions of juvenile offenders in the world for the 2011 calendar year. An Amnesty official stated, "It is deeply disturbing that despite a moratorium on public executions ordered in 2008, the Iranian authorities are once again seeking to intimidate people by such spectacles which not only dehumanize the victim, but brutalize those who witness it."
Earlier, on April 21, 2011, the Norwegian Foreign Minister also condemned Iran's increase in public executions. He stated, "The increased number of public executions using brutal methods such as suffocation by being hoisted up by a crane are particularly grotesque and not worthy of a modern society." Norwegian research had shown 15 public executions in 2011, as compared to 19 in 2010.
In response to the Iranian regime's spate of public executions, in March 2011 United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) launched its "Cranes Campaign," with the goal of pressuring crane manufacturers worldwide to end their business in Iran in order to prevent the use of their equipment for such violent ends. Through its campaign, UANI has succeeded in pressuring Terex (USA), Tadano (Japan), Liebherr, UNIC (Japan), and Konecranes (Finland) to end their business in Iran. Tadano and UNIC, both of Japan, ended their Iran sales after UANI presented graphic photographic evidence of their cranes being used in public executions in the country.
An interim report on human rights in Iran released in October 2011 by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special reporter on the human rights situation in Iran, revealed that secret executions have been taking place in Vakilabad Prison in Mashhad in eastern Iran. According to Shaheed, Iranian authorities conducted 300 secret executions in Vakilabad in 2010 and another 146 executions as of the report's publication in 2011.
January 24, 2011: Iran executed political prisoners Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Hajaghayi for allegedly taking photos and footage of the Iranian election protests as well as chanting slogans promoting the MKO, a banned opposition group aka PMOI.
January 29, 2011: Iran executed dual Dutch-Iranian citizen Zahra Bahrami on disputed drug trafficking charges. Iranian authorities initially arrested her for her participation in the December 2009 Ashura protests. In protest of her execution, the Dutch foreign ministry decided to freeze all contacts with Iran, and later recalled the ambassador.