TEHRAN // Iran hanged 11 members of the Jundullah Sunni militant group yesterday in a prison in Zahedan in the south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, the justice department of the province said in a statement.
The Jundullah members executed had all been involved in various terrorist operations, including ambushing and killing police forces and the revolutionary guards, bomb attacks on Shiite mosques, abductions and armed robbery, in the province in recent months, and all of them were found guilty of "taking up arms against the Islamic state" and "corruption on earth", the statement said.
"Jundullah elements executed on Monday were brought to a fair and public trial after going through all the legal and religious procedures" before being executed, Ebrahim Hamidi, the head of Sistan and Baluchistan province's justice department, was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as saying.
Iran has hanged a number of other Jundullah members publicly or inside prisons in Sistan and Baluchistan Province in the past few years.
The statement released after the executions yesterday warned all those with connections to Jundullah that the justice department of the province would not "hesitate for a moment in prompt execution of the sentences passed on armed insurgents and will decisively carry out the laws of Islam".
None of the Jundullah members executed yesterday were said to have been involved in the suicide bombing on December 15 in the southern port city of Chabahar. The attack killed or wounded more than 100 mourners assembled in front of a mosque marking Tasou'a, a Shiite holiday to commemorate the seventh century death of the third Shiite Imam.
A Jundullah member involved in the bombing was captured while fleeing to Pakistan, officials said shortly after the Chabahar bombing.
Jundullah immediately took responsibility for the bombing. A statement released by the group on its website said the double suicide bombing was in retaliation for the execution of its founder and leader, Abdolmalek Rigi, in June. He had been captured by Iran's security forces in February.
Jundullah claims it is fighting for the rights of the Sunni Baluchi minority. It has carried out several deadly terrorist attacks and bombings in Saravan, Zahedan, Pishin and Chabahar, all in Sistan and Baluchistan province, since its founding in 2003 by Rigi. It has also abducted dozens of police and civilians including a man in October this year that they claimed was a nuclear scientist.
Iranian officials say Jundullah is based in neighbouring Pakistan and has al Qa'eda connections. They also allege that the group receives assistance and support from foreign powers including the US and Britain.
The US designated Jundullah as a terrorist group in November.
Several Iranian officials last week criticised Pakistan for failing to arrest Jundullah members who operate from its soil. The deputy interior minister, Ali Abdollahi, also alleged that some provincial Pakistani authorities helped Jundullah by providing border passes to its members.
Pakistan has not officially reacted to the allegations.