Iran is thought to have executed nearly 700 people in the first half of 2015, according to reports compiled by Amnesty International that far exceed the 246 deaths officially declared by authorities in Tehran.

The human rights charity says “credible reports” put the true toll for the period up to 15 July at 694 people, the equivalent of three executions a day, and nearly as many as were put to death in Iran in the whole of 2014.

Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme, said: “Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale.

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Thumbnail Jordi Bernabeu Farrús