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White House Condemns Iran Executions

(CBS/AP)
The White House on Thursday condemned Iran for hanging two political dissidents convicted of trying to topple "the Islamic establishment" following the disputed Iranian presidential election last year.

"We see it as a low point in the Islamic Republic's unjust and ruthless crackdown of peaceful dissent," Bill Burton, deputy press secretary for the White House, told reporters.

"Murdering political prisoners who are exercising their universal rights will not bring the respect and legitimacy the Islamic Republic seeks," he continued. "It will only serve to further isolate Iran's government in the world and from its people."

The White House has denounced the Ahmadinejad administration repeatedly for its crackdowns on protesters following the June election. The two men who were hanged, Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour, join a long list of dissenters who have faced serious retribution from the Iranian government.

According to official reports from Iran, five additional activists have been sentenced to death, and more then 80 were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years. The two men hanged yesterday were the first known to be killed for their dissent since the election.

Reports say nine more will likely be receiving the death penalty; their cases are currently under appeal.