Noose (illustration)
Noose (illustration) Reuters

Iran is claiming that 93 percent of executions in the country involve drug smuggling, The Associated Press (AP) reported Saturday.

The claim, by Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of Iran's Human Rights Council, was made in response to a United Nations report criticizing death sentences in Iran.

The report by the UN said at least 852 people were reportedly executed between July 2013 and June 2014 and called it an alarming increase.

Delegates from many European countries have urged Iran to adopt a moratorium on the death penalty at an ongoing human rights meeting in Geneva, according to AP.

Ahmed Shaheed, the rights rapporteur for Iran, has described a "surge in executions," giving Iran the world's the highest death penalty rate per capita.

"The range of capital crimes is shocking," Shaheed told journalists this week. "We have seen a person executed for making a donation to a foreign organization."

Iran regularly executes citizens who are convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, adultery and espionage.

A report by Amnesty International, dated January, found that execution orders in the Islamic Republic have risen dramatically since the beginning of 2014.

Since his appointment in 2011, Shaheed has never been allowed to visit Iran and has been accused of being “a spy for the Mossad.”