Iran Executes 29 in Crime Crackdown

TEHRAN — Iran executed 29 convicted drug smugglers and other criminals in Tehran's Evin prison at dawn on Sunday, state media reported, following an expanded crackdown on crime.

Executions of a handful of people at the same time are often reported in Iran, but rarely is a group this large.

Iran is often accused of rights abuses by rights groups and Western governments, although Tehran dismisses the criticism and accuses the West of double standards and hypocrisy.

"The 29 who were executed this morning were involved in the smuggling of narcotics on a wide scale, organized crime, murder and armed robbery," Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was quoted as saying by state radio.

Police have in recent weeks arrested dozens of people in a new drive against "immoral behavior" in Iran, which Amnesty International has listed as the world's second-most prolific executioner in 2007 after China.