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Iran rapped for public hanging of minor

LONDON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- London said it was appalled that Iranian officials executed a 17-year-old boy by hanging in public, complaining it violated international norms.

Iran executed Alireza Molla-Soltani in a public hanging after he was sentenced in July to die for stabbing a popular athlete, Ruhollah Dadashi, to death in July. He said the stabbing was in self-defense.

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Payvand, a Web site publishing reports in opposition to the Iranian regime, said Soltani pleaded for mercy before the hanging.

British Middle East and North African Minister Alistair Burt said in a statement that public executions have no place in the modern world.

GRAPHIC: Public Execution in Iran

"Iran's own President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has previously declared that Iran does not execute children under 18 years of age," he said. "To do so contravenes the international obligations Iran has signed up to. I call again on the Iranian authorities to end these inhumane practices."

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said, following meetings between Iranian and British officials on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, that there was "no animosity" between either peoples. There were "important areas of disagreement" between the two governments, however.

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The United Nations had called on Iran to cooperate fully with the council and give the envoy access to the country to report on the human rights condition in Iran.

France, the United States and other Western powers walked out on Ahmadinejad as he delivered his address Thursday to the U.N. General Assembly.

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