Iran defends mass execution, hits back at criticism from West

Iran defended its mass execution of criminals as a means of tackling terrorism on Saturday, days after 20 men described as members of an extremist and criminal Sunni group were hanged in a single day.

"We are doing everything to protect our people from terrorists," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi was quoted by IRNA news agency as saying.

The jihadis had murdered innocent civilians and spread terror in the region, Ghassemi told IRNA.

The 20 men were executed by hanging in western Iran on Tuesday.

It was far from the first such mass execution of its kind in the Islamic republic, which has the world's highest rate of hangings.

The spokesman hit back at criticism from the West over the hangings, arguing that the United States and its European allies should support the international fight against Islamic State rather than interfere in Iran's domestic matters.

Although described as terrorists by officials, analysts say the hanged men are unlikely to be members of militant political or ideological groups such as Islamic State.

Last update: Sat, 06/08/2016 - 10:35
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