Information has been released for the first time from the Foreign and Commonwealth office regarding the execution of gays in Iran.
The documentation takes the form of correspondence sent between embassies throughout the EU and dates back as far as May 2005.
It refers specifically to the case of two boys, Mahmoud Asqari, who was under 18 at the time the alleged offence was committed, and Ayad Marhouni who were hung in public.
Many gay rights activists argue they were executed for consensual gay sex, while other sources claim the boys were guilty of rape.
The government papers show moves from a British embassy official asking other embassies in Iran to “put pressure on the Judiciary to send out guidance in the form of a circular or order by Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Shahroudi,” to obligate the Muslim nation to make sure all judges were aware that those under 18 should not be executed.
It also shows that although the two boys may not have been executed solely because of the homosexual aspect for the crime, the punishment was carried out “before all legal means to avoid the execution had been exhausted.”
A further conversation between a Parliamentary Union and the Iranian Majles (legislative body) in May 2007 showed that “according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted. He [an Iranian representative] said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed.”
According to the transcript he initially said “torture” but changed the wording to “execution.”
He also argued that “homosexuality is against human nature” and that “humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.”
According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.
To see the full transcripts of the FCO documents click here.