The Islamic Republic of Iran hosts the second-most state-authorized executions in the world. A majority of the convicts hanged are smugglers; drug smuggling is considered a capital offense. Iran has legitimate cause for this hardline stance. Geographically, Iran is a hotspot for drug cartel transportation routes. In response, guard towers and regular patrols dot the Iranian side of the Afghan and Pakistani borders.

As for the hangings, it had been reasoned that in the interest of the greater good human rights were of no matter. Recently, though, the public hangings have decreased and attendance of the remaining is stagnating. Iran’s Parliament is considering a new bill to de-escalate capital punishment by abolishing the death penalty for drug smugglers. Both popular opinion and state policy are on the move. “We want to eliminate the death penalty for those criminals who act out of desperation,” said lawmaker Yahya Kamalpour to the ISNA news agency.

This change, if enacted, would embolden the newly elected Parliament. Who knows what’s next for Iran’s system of law and order?