A man convicted of drug trafficking and another of killing a police officer have been hanged in separate cities in Iran, local media reported Monday. The ISNA news agency said the man sentenced on drug charges was hanged in the northwestern city of Ardebil. The Fars news agency reported that the man convicted of killing a police officer eight years ago was hanged in the southern town of Jam. He was identified as Ali Rafipour. The hanging brings to 233 the number of executions in Iran so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on media and official reports. Human Rights Watch counted 388 executions in Iran in 2010, while Amnesty International put the figure at 252, ranking the Islamic republic second only to China in the number of people put to death last year. Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and that it is applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings. Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are among the crimes punishable by death in Iran.