Tehran/London, Jan. 24 - Iran hanged two political prisoners on Monday for taking part in anti-government protests in 2009 and supporting the main Iranian opposition group, according to a statement by the Tehran prosecutor's office.

Jafar Kazemi, 47, and Mohammad Ali Haj-Aghaie, 62, were hanged at dawn, though the statement did not state where they were hanged. Both were affiliated to the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI).

"The convicts had resorted to distributing pictures and banners related to the Monafeghin (PMOI), taking photos and films of the clashes as well as chanting slogans in favour of the group", the statement said.

The executions were condemned by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the main opposition coalition which includes the PMOI.

NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi in a statement called on the world community, the UN Security Council and the European Union to "condemn these barbaric executions and to suspend economic and diplomatic ties with the ruling medieval regime until an improvement in the situation of human rights and a halt in torture and execution".

Both men had visited their relatives in Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The camp houses some 3,400 members of the PMOI.

UK Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt MP earlier this month urged Tehran not to carry out the sentences.

"I am also deeply concerned by reports that Jafar Kazemi and Mohammad Ali Haj-Aghaie may be imminently executed for 'enmity against God'. The United Kingdom condemns the use of the death penalty, and appeals for these sentences to be commuted", Burt said in a 10 January statement.

Amnesty International has said that Jafar Kazemi was arrested on 18 September 2009, after mass anti-government protests and interrogated and possibly tortured for months in Evin prison in Tehran, possibly to pressure him to make a televised "confession", which he refused to do. He was accused of participating in protests which followed the disputed outcome of Iran's presidential election in June 2009, but was not accused of committing any violent acts, it said, adding that one of his sons is a PMOI member in Camp Ashraf.

Amnesty's 5 January statement also said Mohammad Ali Haj-Aghaei was arrested and tried alongside Kazemi for visiting relatives in Camp Ashraf. The Supreme Court upheld his death sentence in September 2010.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last August urged Iran to release the two men.

In December, Ali Saremi, a political prisoner of 24 years, was hanged on charges of visiting his son in Camp Ashraf. Earlier this month, a young Kurdish dissident, Hossein Khezri, met the same fate.


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