Iran hangs 2 in rare blasphemy case as executions surge

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran has hanged two men convicted of blasphemy. The hangings Monday represent rare death sentences carried out for the crime as executions surge across the Islamic Republic following months of unrest. Iran remains one of the world’s top executioners, having put to death at least 203 prisoners since the start of this year. That’s according to the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights. But carrying out executions for blasphemy remains rare, as previous cases saw the sentences reduced by authorities. The two men executed, Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare, died at Arak Prison in central Iran.