The proposed bill, which will be sent shortly to parliament, also excludes under-18s from receiving life jail terms or lashes, newspapers quoted Alireza Jamshidi, secretary of the Supreme Council for Judicial Development, as saying.

"The new law fully complies with Sharia law and modern judicial developments," the Yas-e No newspaper quoted Jamshidi as saying.

No more stoning

An Iranian newspaper reported last year that Tehran had stopped the use of stoning as a form of capital punishment, in an apparent attempt to ease European Union concerns over human rights in Iran and to facilitate talks on a trade deal.

The death penalty in Iran, where Islamic Sharia law is practised, can be imposed on those convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape, armed robbery, blasphemy and apostasy – the abandonment of one’s religion.

Most executions are carried out behind prison walls by hanging, although occasionally criminals are hung from cranes in public squares.

In June, the Islamic republic saw countrywide protests against the rule of the clerics.