TEHRAN: Iran hanged two men in public on Saturday over a shooting at a revered shrine in the southern city of Shiraz last year that killed more than a dozen people, the judiciary said.
The October 26 attack on the Shiite shrine of Shah Cheragh, which left 13 people dead and 30 wounded, was claimed by the militant Daesh (Islamic State) group.
“The death sentences of two of the perpetrators of the Shah Cheragh terrorist attack were carried out in public this morning,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.
The pair were hanged at dawn on a street near the shrine in Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, the official news agency IRNA reported. Mizan identified them as Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Naeem Hashem Qatali.
Iran had previously said the attack involved people from other countries, including neighbouring Afghanistan, but the nationalities of the executed men were not immediately revealed.
The area of Iran that borders Afghanistan and Pakistan is a hotbed of unrest, and on Saturday four assailants killed two Iranian policemen in the Sunni-majority city of Zahedan near the same frontier, state media said.
All four “terrorists” involved in the attack were killed in ensuing clashes, IRNA cited the security forces as saying.
It was not immediately clear what was behind the attack in the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province, a flashpoint for clashes with militants as well as drug smugglers and rebels from the Balochi minority.
Mizan said one of the men executed on Saturday, Rashidi, had confessed to having collaborated with Daesh to carry out October’s shrine attack.
The two were sentenced to death in March after convictions of “corruption on earth, armed rebellion and acting against national security”, as well as “conspiracy against the security of the country”.
3 others get jail
Fars chief justice Kazem Moussavi said at the time they were directly involved in the “arming, procurement, logistics and guidance” of the main perpetrator.
Three other defendants in the case were sentenced to prison for five, 15 and 25 years for being members of Daesh, he said.
The main assailant, who was later identified by media in Iran as Hamed Badakhshan, who was in his 30s, died of injuries suffered during his arrest, the authorities said.
The shrine attack came more than a month after protests erupted across Iran over the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, following her arrest in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s dress code for women.
In October, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi blamed the “riots” - the term officials use for protests - for paving the way for “terrorist” attacks.
Daesh claimed its first attack in Iran in 2017 when armed men and suicide bombers attacked the parliament in Tehran and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic, killing 17 people and wounding dozens.
Public executions are relatively rare in Iran with almost all hangings carried out inside prisons.