On Tuesday, the European Union condemned the death sentences handed down by Iran to two women, Elham Choubdar and Zahri Sedighi Hamedani, who human rights activists and rights groups say are LGBT activists and innocent of any wrongdoing.

“The EU is fundamentally opposed to the death penalty at all times and under all circumstances and is committed to its universal abolition,” said Peter Stano, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“The EU also strongly opposes all forms of criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity,” he added.

Iran’s official news agency reported on September 5 that two women were sentenced to death on charges of “corruption on earth” and human trafficking.

“Corruption on the ground” is a term used by Iranian authorities to refer to a wide range of offenses, including those related to Islamic morality. In March, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called homosexuality part of the “moral deprivation” widespread in Western civilization.

Stano said that the EU will continue to seek the preservation of human rights in the Islamic Republic.
“As part of our bilateral engagement with Iran, we will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to guarantee the full range of fundamental rights for its citizens, regardless of their religion, beliefs, sexual orientation or any other status,” he noted.

Western human rights groups have often criticized Iran for its treatment of LGBT issues. Under Iran’s legal system, homosexual acts are punishable by death.

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