Teheran (ANTARA News/AFP) - Iran has hanged four convicted drug traffickers in a prison in the southern city of Kerman, Shargh newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The report identified the men sent to the gallows on Tuesday as Hamid K., Qasem B., Hossein J., Siamak M.

The latest hangings bring to 184 the number of executions reported in Iran so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on media and official reports.

Iranian media reported 179 hangings last year but international human rights groups say the actual number was much higher, ranking the Islamic republic second only to China in the number of people it executed in 2010.

Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and it is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.

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

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2011