Iran executed nearly 1,000 people last year, according to a UN report released Thursday, the highest level in two decades. The executions took place as Tehran was negotiating with world powers on a nuclear inspection deal that would see Iran begin to rehabilitate itself in the international community.

The report from Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said at least 966 were executed in 2015.

He noted concerns over the execution of juveniles and said 16 had been executed between 2014 and 2015 - the greatest number in the last five years.

Around two-thirds of executed convicts were sentenced for drug-related offenses and one-in-five executions were of murderers.

Shaheed called for the government to abolish the death penalty for juvenile offenders and impose an immediate moritorium on the use of the death penalty.

His report pointed to a number of reforms to Iran’s penal code since 2013 but said parts still violated human rights.

“Outstanding and emerging issues highlighted in the present report, including serious problems related to the administration of justice and the need for additional legal reform, require immediate attention,” the report said.

Courtesy Middle East Monitor