Iran put on trial on Saturday 16 anti-government protesters, including two women, who were arrested on the Shiite mourning day of Ashura, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Five of the defendants are accused of being mohareb (enemies of God) and corrupt on earth, both crimes punishable by death under the Iranian legal system, which is based on Islamic sharia law, IRNA said.
The rest are accused of “gathering and conspiring against security, propaganda against the system and seeking to harm security by inciting unrest and riot,” it said.
The trial comes after Iran drew international condemnation by executing two dissidents on Thursday.
More demonstrations planned: Reports
Meanwhile, Opposition heads on Saturday implicitly called for demonstrations on the February 11 anniversary of Iran’s Islamic revolution, as the Revolutionary Guards warned that any such protest will be crushed.
Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have spearheaded protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, met on Saturday and invited supporters to demonstrate on the anniversary day, Karroubi’s website Sahamnews.org said.
1000+ arrested last December
Ashura demonstrations on December 27 were the bloodiest showdown in months between anti-government protesters and security forces.
About 1,000 people were arrested and eight killed, including the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.
Iran hanged on Thursday Mohammed Reza Ali Zamani, 37, and Arash Rahmanipour, 20, convicted of being enemies of God and plotting to topple the Islamic regime.
The two were convicted in mass trials of opposition supporters in August over protests against hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in June.
But Rahmanipour’s lawyer said the young man was arrested two months before the poll.
The executions drew strong condemnation from the United States, the European Union and human rights group Amnesty International.
The judiciary said nine more people have been sentenced to death over the post-election unrest.
US ‘to increase military presence in Gulf’
The news comes as the reports in the US suggest the US is about to increase its military presence in the Gulf, to confront Iran’s alleged nuclear programme and assure US Arab-allies and Israel, say US officials.