Iran executes men for regime 'overthrow plot'
IRAN announced yesterday that it had executed two men for plotting to overthrow the regime.
They were the first to be put to death after more than 100 dissidents went on trial following President Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last June.
The hangings of Muhammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour marked an intensification of the regime's attempts to crush the opposition movement through Iran's clerical courts.
The two men were hanged before dawn, hours before prosecutors announced death sentences for five more opposition members arrested in connection with the protests on the Shia holy day of Ashura last month, in which eight demonstrators were killed and hundreds arrested. The number of alleged dissidents sentenced to death is now at least 11.
Mr Zamani and Mr Rahmanipour were convicted after allegedly confessing to membership of a militant royalist group and involvement in a Western-backed bomb plot to disrupt the election.
Lawyers and relatives protested that they had no connection to the demonstrations, noting that they had been arrested three months before the election and had confessed to a mosque bombing that had been written off earlier as an accidental blast.
Opposition supporters have been urging protesters to take to the streets on February 11, the 31st anniversary of the revolution. (© The Times, London)