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Iran Hangs 21 People in One Day

Iranian authorities hanged 21 convicted criminals Wednesday, the latest in a series of group executions in the country.

Iranian state television says 17 drug traffickers were hanged at dawn in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi. It did not say whether the executions took place in public or in prison.

In a separate execution, Iranian media say four criminals were hanged in front of a large crowd in the southern city of Shiraz. The four had been convicted of possessing weapons, drug smuggling and attacking police.

Iran has one of the highest rates of executions in the world. At least 180 people have been executed in Iran this year, surpassing the 177 executions reported by rights group Amnesty International for 2006.

Iranian officials have said the executions are part of a crackdown on crime and immoral behavior.

Many recent executions in Iran have been carried out in public. Two men convicted of murdering a judge were hanged last month in central Tehran.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.