Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi. (Courtesy) (Courtesy)
Bahram Qassemi

The Iranian foreign ministry reacted angrily to criticism by the United Nations of the country’s execution of 20 Kurdish militants earlier this month.

On Saturday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi accused the West of meddling in internal Iranian affairs.

“While Iran is itself a victim of terrorism, it will do its best to maintain the safety of its citizens,” Qassemi stated.

His comments follow a Friday statement from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, criticizing Iran for the executions.

There were “serious doubts about the fairness of the trials, respect for due process and other rights of the accused” before their executions, the statement said.

Qassemi said that the judiciary had found the 20 men guilty of several charges, including attempting to establish a militant group, making explosives and planting bombs in Iranian cities.

On Tuesday, Iran’s judiciary announced the executions, identifying those put to death as Kurdish Islamic extremists who were convicted of armed robbery, killing civilians and planning bomb attacks.

Zeid said reports suggested most, if not all, of those executed were Sunnis from Iran’s Kurdish minority.

Kurdish fighters increasingly have battled Iranian security forces in recent weeks in northwestern Iran, leading to fatalities on both sides.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff