Factional infighting, paranoia, economic ineptitude and deepening confrontation with the west have characterised Mahmoud Ahmadinejad‘s leadership of Iran. But a second-term presidency launched amid bloodily suppressed protests in 2009 now appears to be assuming an even more vicious character as reports accumulate of ongoing, secret mass executions and new waves of political repression.
Hard facts are hard to come by in a country where independent reporting is all but a fond memory. But Iranian human rights groups, international watchdogs and country experts all suggest the regime is embarked on what in effect is a judicial killing spree. Ostensibly, it is cracking down on drug trafficking and other criminal activity. In truth, campaigners say, Tehran is pursuing a campaign of public intimidation and covert killing to subdue political opposition and quell turbulence caused by the Arab spring revolts.