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TEHRAN, Oct 13 – Iran has hanged five convicted drug traffickers plus a murderer in a prison in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, the Kayhan newspaper reported Tuesday.

The report said that on October 6, a man and two women convicted of drug trafficking and identified respectively as Abdollah J., Khadijeh J., and Fouzieh J. were hanged.

The same day, a man who was identified as Karim A. was hanged after being convicted of murder.

The report added that on October 8, two drug traffickers, identified as Oday B., and Saad B., were sent to gallows.

The newspaper gave no further details of the executions.

The hangings bring to at least 237 the number of people executed in the Islamic republic so far this year, according to an AFP count based on news reports.

In 2008, Iran hanged 246 people, the second highest number of executions by a country after China.

Tehran says the death penalty is a necessary tool for maintaining public security and is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.

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Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are all punishable by death in Iran.

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