Iran hangs five drug smugglers

TEHRAN - Iran hanged five convicted drug smugglers yesterday, Iranian media reported, the latest in a series of executions since authorities launched a crackdown on "immoral behaviour" last year.

TEHRAN - Iran hanged five convicted drug smugglers yesterday, Iranian media reported, the latest in a series of executions since authorities launched a crackdown on "immoral behaviour" last year.

Three men were publicly executed in the holy city of Qom, south of the capital Tehran, the official IRNA news agency said.

Two others were hanged in the southeastern city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province, notorious for clashes between security forces and smugglers, the state broadcaster reported.

"The death sentence for these people was issued by Qom's Islamic revolutionary court," Qom official Hoda Tarshizi said.

"These criminals had a background in drug smuggling and had served time in jail but they continued with their criminal activities after they were released," she said.

Iran lies on a heroin smuggling route from the opium fields of neighbouring Afghanistan, the world's number one producer of the opium poppy, to the West. Opium poppy provides the key ingredient for heroin.

More than 3300 Iranian security personnel have died in the region fighting drug traffickers since Iran's 1979 revolution. - Reuters

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