TEHRAN — Iran hanged 16 "rebels" of an unspecified armed group on Saturday in retaliation for the death of 14 border guards in clashes near the frontier with Pakistan, a semiofficial news agency reported.
The executions took place hours after the rebels ambushed the border guards near the town of Saravan in southeast Iran, Fars agency quoted local judicial official Mohammad Marzieh as saying.
State TV said that rebels had crossed the border from Pakistan and fled back there after the clash. Drug smugglers have occasionally ambushed Iranian troops in the mountainous area, which lies astride a major transit route linking Afghanistan to Europe and the Persian Gulf. Ethnic Baluch armed groups also operate there, but recently have been much less active.
The border in the remote region is porous, and groups can easily move back and forth.
The report provided few other details of the hangings. It did not mention a trial, suggesting the prisoners may already have been convicted and sentenced to death, and their executions moved up after the ambush.