Two non-governmental organisations said they have recorded an "alarming" increase in the application of the death penalty in Iran with a rise of 25 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year.
The 14th annual report on the death penalty issued by the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and France-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) said at least 333 people were executed in 2021, a 25 per cent increase compared to 267 in 2020.
Death sentences in Iran, which has one of the highest executions rates in the world along with China and Saudi Arabia, are carried out by hanging.
The watchdogs said the rate of executions in Iran has accelerated after the June election of President Ebrahim Raisi and doubled in the second half of 2021 compared to the first half.
The more than 100-page report stated that at least 17 women were executed in 2021, compared to nine in 2020, and at least two minors.
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According to the report, the number of executions for drug-related offences reached 126 in 2021 compared to 25 in 2020.
"The Islamic Republic's terrible performance in the field of human rights and the death penalty is not included in the talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement," said IHR Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.
"There will be no sustainable (deal)… unless the situation of human rights in general and the death penalty in particular, are central parts of the negotiations," he added.
"We are alarmed at the disproportionate number of ethnic minority executions as evidenced in this report," said ECPM Director Raphael Chenuil-Hazan, adding that any negotiations between the West and Iran should address the death penalty among its priorities.
The report has also expressed concern that the execution of ethnic minorities also continued to rise in 2021, noting that prisoners from the Baluch minority accounted for 21 percent of all executions in 2021, although they only represent 2–6 percent of Iran's population.