The U.S. State Department condemned the hanging of an Iranian woman convicted of murdering a man she said was trying to rape her.
The official IRNA news agency says Reyhaneh Jabbari was hanged at dawn Saturday for premeditated murder. It quoted the court ruling as rejecting the claim of attempted rape and saying all evidence proved that Jabbari had plotted to kill Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former agent for Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
In this picture taken on Dec. 15, 2008, Iranian Reyhaneh Jabbari, center, sits while attending her trial in a court in Tehran, Iran. (Image source: AP/Golara Sajjadian)
The court ruling says Jabbari, 27, stabbed Sarbandi in the back in 2007 after purchasing a knife two days earlier.
Jabbarii's execution was carried out after Sarbandi's family refused to pardon Jabbari or accept blood money.
The United Nations said Jabbari never received a fair trial, a concern echoed by the U.S. State Department.
"There were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case, including reports of confessions made under severe duress," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday, CNN reported.
"We condemn this morning's execution in Iran of Reyhaneh Jabbari, an Iranian woman convicted of killing a man she said she stabbed in self-defense during a sexual assault," Psaki said.
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The United Nations has said Sarbandi hired Jabbari -- then a 19-year-old interior designer -- to work on his office. She stabbed him after he sexually assaulted her, it said.
Jabbari was held in solitary confinement without access to her lawyer and family for two months, Amnesty International said in a statement. She was tortured during that time, the group said.
"Amnesty International understands that, at the outset of the investigation, Reyhaneh Jabbari admitted to stabbing the man once in the back, but claimed she had done so after he had tried to sexually abuse her," the rights group said, CNN noted. "She also maintained that a third person in the house had been involved in the killing. These claims, if proven, could exonerate her but are believed never to have been properly investigated, raising many questions about the circumstances of the killing."
Rights groups have criticized Iran for a surge in executions under Hassan Rouhani in his first year as president, CNN added.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.