Executions in Iran are carried out in a number of ways, including hanging, stoning, and death by firing squad. Of these methods hanging is most often used and public hangings are not uncommon. Stoning is based upon the Islamic principle of rajm (Arabic for "stone") and entails projecting stones at an individuals upper-body until that person is declared dead. The firing squad, while rare, is still used in some executions.
Iran draws the ire of the international community for its perceived liberal use of the death penalty. Homosexuality, for instance, is punishable by death in Iran, making it one of the few countries in the world where such a severe penalty is enforced. Iran believes its use of the death penalty is well within Islamic law and helps to deter would-be criminals. However, with non-violent crimes such as drug use and apostasy bringing possible execution, many in the global community question the effectiveness of such measures.