The European Union has called on Iran to scrap the death penalty, as it criticized the Islamic Republic for an alarming increase in the number of executions this year.
Alarabiya reported an EU spokesperson released a statement criticizing Iran's use of the death penalty, saying "According to the latest data, compiled from a number of sources, the rate of executions in Iran during the first 5 months of 2012 confirmed the country as one of the world’s leading users of the death penalty.”
RFERL reported Tehran executed 14 convicted drug traffickers in one day in May. According to Minews the 14 were all hanged in a mass execution after a court rejected their applications for a pardon. Figures cited by Amnesty International show that 488 of the more than 600 people executed in 2011 were convicted on drug charges. The Iranian authorities confirmed a total of 35 people were hanged in May.
The National reported Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that state executions this year could result in more than 1,000 hangings. Two of Iran's opposition leaders added their voices to the concern over the increase in executions. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi urged "that these unrestrained and illogical executions be halted" as they claimed many of those executed were denied access to the due process of the law.
Aaron Rhodes of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said "It seems that life is becoming cheaper and cheaper in Iran" as he noted an increase in the number of executions of political dissidents.
Iran has responded to the criticisms by telling Western nations to mind their own business.