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President Rouhani Defends Executions of Hundreds for Drug Offenses in Iran

13 Nov 15
President Rouhani Defends Executions of Hundreds for Drug Offenses in Iran

Iran Human Rights (NOV 13 2015): In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, President Hassan Rouhani defends Iran's execution of alleged drug offenders. Responding to a question about Iran's large number of executions, Rouhani repeated the answer often given by Iranian authorities: "Most executions in Iran are related to drug trafficking crimes, due to the long and porous border shared with our Afghan neighbour. If we abolish the death penalty, we would make it easier for drugs to be trafficked to European countries, and that would be dangerous for you." The comments were made on Thursday November 12, two days before the start of Rouhani's scheduled visit to Italy and France.

Iran Human Rights calls on the Italian and French governments to put the death penalty on top of the agenda during President Rouhani's visit to these countries. "When the president of a country which executes an average of three people a day comes to visit, the death penalty must be the main issue of discussion with him. Italy and France are two of the world's foremost countries engaged in the abolition of the death penalty, it is expected that Iran's use of the death penalty will be on top of the agenda in their talks with Mr. Rouhani," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR. 

Iran is the country with the highest rate of executions per capita. According to reports by IHR, more than 830 people have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2015, the highest number in more than 25 years. The number of executions has increased by more than 30% since Hassan Rouhani became the Iranian President.


Since 2010 more than 2,500 people have been executed for drug offences in Iran. Unlike what Rouhani says, executions have not deterred drug offenses. Official reports indicate that drug problems, including trafficking and addiction, have been on the rise during the past years. Drug offenders often belong to the poor and marginalized groups in Iranian society; and there are many reports of torture, forced confessions, unfair trials and lack of access to lawyer.