Iran's judiciary chief refuses to speed executions

Iran's judiciary chief said on Monday that he will not give in to political pressure to speed up the execution of opposition activists.

AyatollahSadeq Larijani said that some in the ruling hard-line establishment arepushing the judiciary to step beyond the law in the crackdown on theopposition.

In December, hard-line government supportersattending street rallies called for opposition leaders to be executed.Two men convicted of plotting to overthrow the Islamic leadership werehanged Thursday.

Larijani said political motives should not influence investigations.

Theopposition accuses authorities of using last week's executions tofrighten its supporters from turning out for rallies coinciding withthe Feb. 11 anniversary of the 1979 revolution.