“For years, Iranian authorities have committed acts of terror against LGBT people, incited violence by others, and refused even to admit that LGBT Iranians exist,” – Hossein Alizadeh, regional coordinator, Middle East and North Africa, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Most people remember President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s famous pronouncement that there are no homosexuals in Iran. What they probably aren’t aware of is the abysmal treatment, and intense legalized discrimination, built into the the legal code of the Iranian state.

Official statistics are difficult to come by, but the Iranian Penal Code delivers strict punishment for homosexual activity. Males below the age of majority can receive up to 74 lashes for engaging in consensual sexual activity. For non-adult women, the punishment for consensual sexual activity is 100 lashes. Men and women can even face the death penalty. In 2011 at least three men were executed for consensual homosexuality.

The chart below (provided by the Economist) puts Iranian practice in context of the rest of the world.

Human Rights Watch has published an extensive report on this issue, We Are A Buried Generation which details “discrimination and violence against sexual minorities in Iran”.