An Iranian monitoring group has alleged that the government, in a matter of mere six days, has secretly executed 59 'activists' in the largely Shia-Muslim populated country.
According to France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a political umbrella coalition of five Iranian opposition political organisations, Iran carried out "a wave of secret execution inside the country's prisons".
The NCRI report noted that between 19 May and 21 May, the Iranian regime executed 37 people in prisons or on the streets of various cities. Similarly, at least 22 peope were executed between 23 May and 25 May.
Criticising the increase in number of executions, the group which is headed by Maryam Rajavi, a popular Iranian politician living in exile in France, noted in the report: "The executions are aimed at raising the atmosphere of terror in the society in order to prevent any public expression of dissent in the country."
On the recent spate of executions in Iran, Soona Samsami, NCRI's US Representative, told IBTimes India: "The political climate of repression and censorship in Iran, coupled with lack of due process in the judiciary, create severe difficulties in finding the truth behind Iran's executions."
"However, one thing is certain: the regime continues to use the death penalty, not as a deterrent to drug abuse or to stem ordinary crimes, but as a means of inflicting terror in a young and increasing restless and enraged population," Samsami said.
Samsami also hit out at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's failure to curb human rights abuses in the country.
"Hassan Rouhani's approval of these barbaric hangings notwithstanding, there is no room for reform in a constitution with a non-representative 'Supreme Leader,' and a judiciary that executed 30,000 political prisoners in a matter of months in 1988 alone. Ironically, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, one of the three people who sat on the "death commission" that sent these political prisoners, mostly MEK members, to the gallows, is Rouhani's Justice Minister," she added
The Huffington Post earlier this month had reported that an estimated 347 executions were carried out in Iran since the beginning of the year. In 2014, the total number of executions was 735, which according to Oslo-based organisation Iran Human Rights was a 10 per cent increase from the previous year.
"There is an internal conflict going on now between the hard-line judiciary and Rouhani's moderate administration," Iranian human rights campaigner Taghi Rahmani told BBC. "And it's the activists who are paying the price."
The highly criticised execution reports have come at a time when Iran is inching towards reaching an agreement on the final nuclear deal. The United States, Iran, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China on 2 April reached a tentative agreement for a nuclear deal.
There were, however, several issues that were yet to be resolved and the countries had opted for a 30 June deadline to reach a comprehensive agreement. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, noted on Thursday that arriving at a final deal by 30 June will be difficult, if the other side stuck to what he called excessive demand, Reuters reported.