Since their inception, powerful governments and the US in particular have wielded the conventions and the war on drugs as a way to exert power and influence, and punish and control their population. Only ten years ago, Iran put to death fewer than a hundred people annually. Since then, hardliners in the judiciary have timed executions as a morbid spectacle to deter dissent. Hundreds were sent to the gallows after protests in 2009 and 2010, and again following the election of moderate president Hassan Rouhani last year. Even as Iran made overture to the West — and, in fact, because of those gestures — executions rose more than 600 percent between 2005 and 2011.