Iran carried out 142 executions in May, marking the highest number of people put to death in one month in the country since 2015, a rights group said Thursday.

More than half of the executions were for drug-related crimes and the rest were given for the Islamic crimes of blasphemy, adultery and “spreading corruption on Earth,” according to the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights, or IHRNGO.

Between January and May, Iran carried out 307 executions, a number significantly higher than the 220 executions reported in the same period last year.

“The purpose of the Islamic Republic’s intensification of arbitrary executions is to spread societal fear to prevent protests and prolong its rule,” Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, IHRNGO director, said in a statement.

The executions have prompted calls for more international pressure on Iran to at least decelerate the current pace of capital punishments.

Last month, New York-based Human Rights Watch said, “Iranian authorities’ dramatic escalation of executions in recent weeks is a serious violation of the right to life and should bring international condemnation.”

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