An Iranian politician told British MPs that gays should be hanged or tortured, reports the UK’s The Times newspaper.

The newspaper says that the conversation was minuted during a private meeting between Iranian and British politicians during a peace conference in May.

The documents were supplied to The Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to the minutes, the British team at the meeting raised the issue of the widely reported hanging of two boys, Mahmoud Asqari and Ayad Marhouni, in 2005 – apparently because they were gay.

Mohsen Yahyavi, the head of the Iranian delegation, responded that, that “if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed].”

“He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce,” said the minutes.

Yahyavi is said to be the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality.

“It is of great concern that these attitudes persist and we made it clear what we felt,” Ann Clwyd, the head of Britain’s delegation told The Times.

In September, during a talk at Columbia University’s World Leaders Forum in the US, Iranian President Dr. Mahmood Ahmadinejad categorically denied the existence of homosexuality in Iran. This was in response to a question from an audience member concerning Iran’s documented abuse of homosexuals and women.

“In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country…. We don’t have that in our country,” said Ahmadinejad.

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