updated 8/1/2007 10:15:12 AM ET 2007-08-01T14:15:12

The Iranian judiciary confirmed that two journalists from the country's Kurdish minority have been sentenced to death, state media reported Tuesday.

The verdict is a rare for journalists in Iran, despite constant state pressure on media workers.

The two men, Adnan Hassanpour and Hiva Boutimar, were sentenced on the charge of "moharebeh," a term Iran uses to describe a major crime against Islam and the state, judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told the Islamic Republic News Agency.

"Moharebeh" literally means "fighting" in classical Arabic.

But IRNA did not specify what precise crime the journalists were accused of, and it was unclear when or how the sentences would be carried out.

The journalists were deemed activists in Sanandaj, the capital of the western Iranian province of Kurdistan, which borders Iraq. They were detained after Kurds protested in Sanandaj in 2005.

Tehran has accused the United States of stoking ethnic minority tensions in northwestern Iran's Kurdish regions.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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