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Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Ghashghavi
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has said that relations with Malaysia will suffer if the Southeast Asian country proceeds with the execution of two Iranian women convicted of drugs trafficking.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Ghashghavi said Malaysia should spare the women "so that the friendship and brotherhood" between the two countries can continue.

The two women, Shahrzad Mansour and Neda Mostafaei, were sentenced to death in December 2010 after being convicted of smuggling methamphetamine into Malaysia.

An Iranian official said unknown drug traffickers tricked the women into unknowingly taking bags containing the drugs into Kuala Lumpur.

READ NEXT: Iran's Public Executions Prompt Fatal Reenactment

Iran itself has one of the highest execution rates in the world and frequently executes drug traffickers, as well as those convicted of violent crimes such as murder, rape, and armed robbery.

Convicted adulterers are also sometimes executed.

Based on reporting by AFP and IRNA
UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Iran Ahmed Shaheed
The UN's special rapporteur for human rights in Iran has said the country has shown "no sign of improvement" in human rights and "continues to warrant serious concern."

In a report issued on October 23, UN Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed said Iran carried out 724 executions between January 2012 and June 2013, including 202 in the first half of this year.

Shaheed said that at least 40 journalists and 29 Internet users have been arrested in Iran this year, and the country shut down 67 Internet cafes and blocked some 5 million websites in July 2013.

Shaheed said that he welcomes encouraging statements made by President Hassan Rohani since his election in June, but added that "I don't think he had the time to substantially change what has been happening in Iran for many years."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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