Iran publicly hangs two for murder, robbery-agency

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TEHRAN, Nov 14 (Reuters) Iran hanged two men convicted of murder in a western Kurdish province, a news agency reported today, in the latest public execution in the Islamic state in recent months.

The students news agency ISNA said that Saeed Moradi and Hamid Fallahi had been executed in the western province of Kermanshah.

Both had been sentenced to death for ''armed robbery and murder'', a capital crime in Iran.

''The pair were hanged in a square in the western city of Sahneh,'' the agency said. It gave no date for the execution.

Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law, enforced since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

The number of executions in Iran, many in public, has increased since July, when police started a summer crackdown on ''immoral behaviours''.

Police have arrested dozens of drug addicts, smugglers, rapists and murderers.

Amnesty International, which says Iran has one of the highest rates of executions in the world, said in September it had recorded 210 so far this year, compared with 177 for all of 2006.

Iran dismisses the criticism of its human rights record, arguing it is it is implementing Islamic law.

REUTERS ARB RN1726

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