Iran hangs 2 for allegedly aiming to topple state

on Thursday executed two men accused of involvement in an armed anti-governmentgroup, as the public prosecutor announced that new death sentences have beenissued against opposition activists involved in protests over June's disputedpresidential election.

The announcements marked an escalation by the courts enforcing the clericalleadership's heavy, monthslong crackdown aimed at crushing the oppositionchallenge. The prosecutor also said a new group of protesters and others wouldsoon be brought to trial.

The two men, who were hanged before dawn Thursday, had been arrested beforethe election and did not appear to be connected to the postelection protests.

But they were put before the same mass trial as opposition leaders andactivists arrested amid the crackdown, and state media Thursday depicted thetwo as part of the protest movement, a sign of how the government has used theunrest as an opportunity to pursue other enemies.

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