Iran executing hundreds, human rights group says

Amnesty International this week issued a report accusing Iran of secretly executing at least 300 political prisoners since July. The London-based human rights organization says the total number already killed could be in the thousands and that many thousands imprisoned in Iran are in danger.

Amnesty International had documented the executions from accounts dribbling out of Iran in recent weeks.

Most of those killed were previously jailed members of opposition groups, predominantly the People's Mojahedin of Iran. The Mojahedin, which is based in Iraq, claims up to 12,000 people have been executed since last summer.

Last Thursday the United Nations sanctioned Iran by a large majority for the executions as well as reports of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners.

Iran is the only country to refuse to admit a special UN envoy to investigate charges of human rights abuse. Iran's president last week admitted executions were under way and characterized them as ``carrying out diving orders.''

Simultaneously, social turmoil is evident as Iran tries to handle the return of hundreds of thousands of soldiers to depressed cities.

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