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Iran Unrest Death Sentences 'Distressing,' Clinton Says

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
KABUL (Reuters) -- Death sentences imposed by Iran over unrest after disputed elections in June were unfortunate and distressing, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

Iran's state broadcaster reported on November 17 that five people had been sentenced to death over the postelection protests, and another 81 had received jail terms of up to 15 years.

The protests, by supporters of defeated opposition candidates who accused the authorities of rigging the vote, were the worst unrest Iran had seen since its Islamic Revolution in 1979.

"It is a very unfortunate, distressing development to see these sentences handed down in Iran, imposing the death penalty on people who participated in expressing their opposition to the government in demonstrating in the streets," Clinton told reporters in Kabul.

"It underscores the approach that the government in Iran takes for their own people," she added.

"We will continue to stand up for the rights of the people of Iran to speak for themselves, to have their votes counted, to be given an opportunity to have the measure of freedom and rights that any person deserves to have," said Clinton, in Afghanistan to attend the inauguration of President Hamid Karzai today.