Iran’s judiciary chief said Feb. 1 he will not give in to political pressure to speed up the execution of opposition activists. Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani said some in Iran’s ruling hard-line establishment are pushing the judiciary to step beyond the law in the crackdown on Iran’s defiant opposition. Authorities have been unable to crush the opposition movement, which began by protesting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June and has since gone on to challenge the Islamic establishment backing him. Last week, Iran carried out the first executions to result from a mass trial that began in August of more than 100 opposition activists, former government leaders and others accused of playing a role in the postelection turmoil or plotting to topple Iran’s system of clerical leaders. Authorities hanged two men convicted of belonging to outlawed monarchist groups and plotting to overthrow the Islamic establishment. (AP)

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