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Published: Sunday June 1, 2014 MYT 5:21:49 PM
Updated: Sunday June 1, 2014 MYT 5:23:23 PM

Iran executes man for links to exiled opposition group - Fars

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran executed a man on Sunday for links with the People's Mujahideen Organisation of Iran (PMOI), an exiled Iranian opposition group, the semi-official Fars news agency said.

Fars said Iran had charged Gholamreza Khosravi Savajani with providing financial assistance to the PMOI, which seeks the removal of the Islamic Republic's clerical leadership. At the time of his arrest, Fars said, Iranian police found video and documents describing "important centres including military installations" which had been passed on to the PMOI.

Tehran deems the PMOI a terrorist group. The PMOI, otherwise known as the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK), helped overthrow the Shah during Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution but later broke with Shi'ite Muslim clerics who took power. Amnesty International said Savajani was sentenced in 2010 over alleged PMOI links. The rights group had urged Iran on Saturday not to execute Savajani after what it called an unfair trial in which he was convicted of "enmity against God".

The PMOI, which has an office in Paris, said Savajani's family had been summoned to the jail where he was being held and had been told he would be executed on Sunday morning.

Hassiba Hadj Saharoui, of London-based Amnesty International, said Savajani's trial was "in total disregard of both international law and Iranian law".

Tehran says its judicial system is fair and accuses Western powers of using accusations of human rights abuses as a way to undermine it.

The PMOI fought on the side of Iraq's Saddam Hussein in its 1980-88 war with Iran. The MEK's guerrilla campaign against the U.S.-backed Shah during the 1970s included attacks on U.S. targets. In April 1992, the PMOI carried out attacks on 13 Iranian embassies around the world.

The group was listed under the U.S.-designated terrorist list until September 2012.

Human rights groups say Iran executes more people as a proportion of the population than any other country. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in March that the rate of executions had risen since the election of President Hassan Rouhani last year.

In the last execution in Iran that received international attention, Iranian media reported last week the hanging of the first of four men sentenced to death for a financial scam that tainted the government of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

(Reporting by Michelle Moghtader in Dubai; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Mark Heinrich)

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