Pour Encourager Les Autres

How can you tell when a de facto dictatorship realizes its losing control and is scared of its own people?

It starts executing them in ever greater numbers.

That's what Iran has been doing lately as the theocracy sees its control over the people starting to slip away.

Too many Iranians are questioning the authority of the mullahs and their representatives. By imprisoning and, in many cases, hanging or stoning them to death, they hope to maintain control over them.

The Mashad hangings, broadcast live on local television, are among a series of public executions ordered by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month as part of a campaign to terrorize an increasingly restive population. Over the past six weeks, at least 118 people have been executed, including four who were stoned to death. According to Saeed Mortazavi, the chief Islamic prosecutor, at least 150 more people, including five women, are scheduled to be hanged or stoned to death in the coming weeks.

The campaign of terror also includes targeted "disappearances" designed to neutralize trade union leaders, student activists, journalists and even mullahs opposed to the regime. According to the latest tally, more than 30 people have "disappeared" since the start of the new Iranian year on March 21. To intimidate the population, the authorities also have carried out mass arrests on spurious grounds.

It sounds like so many other dictatorships that have since faded into history. One day the people will have had enough and it will be the ruling mullahs, the president, and members of the Majlis that will find themselves on the wrong end of a rope or a firing squad. All the Iranian regime is doing now is hastening that day.

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