TEHRAN/DUBAI: The Iranian authorities on Saturday hanged 16 "rebels" following overnight clashes in which 14 border guards were killed on the frontier with Pakistan, a judicial official said.
"Sixteen rebels linked to groups hostile to the regime were hanged this morning in the prison of Zahedan in response to the death of border guards in Saravan," Mohammad Marzieh, the attorney general of Sistan-Baluchestan province, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
The Iranian border guards were killed in clashes with "armed bandits" on the country's southeastern boundary with Pakistan overnight, Iran's state news agency reported.
It gave no more detail on the identity of the armed group, but security forces have fought drug traffickers before in the border region with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The area also has a history of unrest, with the mainly Sunni Muslim population complaining of discrimination at the hands of Iran's Shi'ite Muslim authorities.
IRNA quoted an unnamed official saying the fighting took place in the southeast Sistan-Baluchistan province and the exact number of dead had not been confirmed.