The Iranian government has confirmed that in the coming weeks more than 20 men will be executed on moral violations of rape, sodomy and assault and battery.

Police arrested over 1000 men in May in poor neighbourhoods of Tehran and other cities as part of a moral ‘crackdown’ on indecent behaviour.

Those arrested will face trial and possible death at a later date.

Judiciary spokesperson Alireza Jamshidi is quoted in The New York Times confirming that the death penalty will be applied on the grounds of, “rape, insulting religious sanctities and laws, and homosexuality.”

It is unclear if any of the men have been accused of consensual gay sex.

Homosexuality is illegal in Iran and is seen as a violation against God.

On July 19th, 2005 two Iranian teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari, 15 and Ayaz Marhoni, 17, from Khuzestan province, were witnessed engaging in homosexual activities in a semi-public area and were hanged for perverting Islamic law.

The National Council of Resistance in Iran issued a press release, 2005 which stated, “the victims were charged with disrupting public order among other things.”

Islamic law states that all sexual acts outside of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden and punishable.

The Iranian clerics will not permit any political party or organisation to endorse LGBT civil rights and no legislation exists to prevent discrimination, harassment, hate crimes and corporal punishment.

Some left-wing Iranian political movements have expressed support for the LGBT community

The Green Party of Iran website states, “Every Iranian citizen is equal by law, regardless of gender, age, race, nationality, religion, marital status, sexual orientation or political beliefs.”

The manifesto of the Worker Communist Party of Iran supports the rights of all individuals “to be completely free in deciding over their sexual relationships with other adults.”

Protests against the hanging of the two gay teenagers were held in Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Frankfurt, London, Marseilles, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Provincetown, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Sioux Falls, Stockholm, Tehran, Toronto, Vancouver, Vienna, Warsaw and Washington DC.