Iran has jailed up to 20,000 people in months of protests against the regime. The announcement that it's pardoning prisoners is an empty gesture, a human rights lawyer says.
The protests that have gripped the country since September may have diminished to some extent recently, but demonstrators in Iran reached by NPR insist the protests will not die out or fade away.
The real-life "Spider Killer" murdered 16 women in Iran between 2000 and 2001. The case inspired Holy Spider, which has resonated abroad during a time of amplified state violence in Iran.
The executions are Tehran's main response to protests that have swept the country since September, and are seen as a sign that Iran's clerical leadership intends to continue a violent crackdown.
The country's theocracy, which came to power 43 years ago, faces one of its stiffest challenges amid weeks of widespread protests after the death of a woman arrested by the country's morality police.
"Jin, jiyan, azadi!" — "Woman, life, freedom!" — has become the rallying cry for people in Iran and beyond who are protesting the death of Mahsa Amini in Iranian police custody.
The gatherings are an echo of the protests that have erupted in Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country's so-called morality police.
As protests intensify in Iran over the arrest and death in custody of a 22-year-old woman, the country's top diplomat promises an investigation into what happened but downplays the demonstrations.