The Iranian government is executing gay and bisexual men under the cover of rape and kidnapping charges, according to a major new investigation by Simon Forbes of the UK-based gay and lesbian human rights group OutRage!

Mr Forbes’s nine-month investigation, published this week by OutRage!, is based on information gathered from sources inside Iran.

His research reveals lynching by Iran’s security forces, and ‘honour killings’ by families in the south western province of Khuzestan, secret hangings in prison, internet entrapment of gay Iranians using foreign-based online gay dating agencies, and a pattern of framing gay people on charges of kidnap, rape and paedophilia.

It is the first document in a series of documents that will be published by OutRage! in the coming weeks and months. These documents claim to expose the state-sanctioned torture and murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people by the Iranian clerical regime.

“Mr Forbes’s pioneering investigation is based on information from credible, verified sources inside Iran. It provides clear evidence of homophobic honour killings, arrests, torture and executions,” said OutRage! spokesperson Peter Tatchell.

“His research confirms a pattern of framing same-sex lovers on charges of kidnap and rape, in order to discredit them, discourage public protests and deflect international condemnation.

“The information on which the Home Office bases its rejection of most gay Iranian asylum claims is partial, badly researched and glosses over gay human rights abuses by the Iranian regime.

“Until Iran’s anti-gay laws are repealed, the UK, EU and US should permanently halt the deportation of lesbian and gay Iranians. So long as Iran criminalises same-sex relations, it will not be safe for gay people to return to Iran.

“The decision in mid-April by the Dutch government to defer its planned deportation of gay Iranian asylum seekers is a recognition that deportees would be at serious risk of torture and execution.

“While we welcome the Dutch moratorium on deportations, we deplore its temporary nature.

“Deportations are tantamount to a sentence of death. Any gay asylum seeker sent back to Iran is likely to be arrested, tortured and executed.

“Under the European Convention on Human Rights it is illegal to deport people to countries like Iran where they would be at risk of torture and execution,” said Mr Tatchell.

A spokesperson from the Iranian Embassy could not be contacted.