PARIS, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- An Iranian opposition leader said executions are on the rise in the Islamic republic because of fears of a revolution similar to one in Tunisia.
A protest suicide in December led to the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia that brought the 23-year authoritarian regime of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali to an end.
Sanabreq Zahedi, the head of the judicial council with the National Council of the Iranian Resistance, an opposition group based in France, told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that Tehran was fearful of a popular uprising.
Iran this week hanged two men allegedly associated with the People's Mujahedin of Iran for inciting unrest in the post-election turmoil in 2009 and for "chanting slogans" in favor of the group. The People's Mujahedin of Iran is labeled a terrorist organization by Iran and the United States.
Zahedi said "every execution in Iran is political" because Tehran is keen to smother any sign of "popular anger," especially after the government announced it was doing away with generous subsidies on food and energy items.
"From the beginning of this year, the Iranian regime began a wave of executions because the regime is in conflict with internal forces," he added.