The Islamic Republic of Iran executed at least 142 people in May, the highest monthly number since 2015, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group.
IHR said in a statement on June 1 that the number of executions across the country reached at least 307 since the beginning of the year, a 76 percent rise compared to the same period in 2022.
“If the international community doesn’t show a stronger reaction to the current wave of executions, hundreds more will fall victims to their killing machine in the coming months," IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said.
“The purpose of the Islamic Republic’s intensification of arbitrary executions is to spread societal fear to prevent protests and prolong its rule,” he added.
Last month, as many as 78 people (55 percent) were executed on drug-related charges. Three others had received death sentences on blasphemy and adultery charges.
Those executed included 21 members of the country’s Baluch minority and one woman.
The first public execution of 2023 was carried out in May.
Many human rights advocates have accused the Iranian authorities of escalating executions to try to instill fear in society following months of nationwide protests sparked by the September death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.
The Islamic Republic has cracked down hard on the protest movement, killing more than 520 people during demonstrations and unlawfully detaining over 20,000 others, activists say.
Following biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences, including the death penalty, to protesters.