TEHRAN – Two men were publicly hanged on Saturday in Iran for their involvement in a shooting at the Shah Cheragh shrine in Shiraz in 2022, which claimed the lives of more than a dozen people.
The attack on the revered Shiite Muslim shrine was claimed by the Sunni Muslim extremist group, Islamic State (IS).
The judiciary’s Mizan Online website confirmed the execution, stating, “The death sentences of two of the perpetrators of the Shah Cheragh terrorist attack were carried out in public this morning.”
The execution took place at dawn on a street near the shrine in Shiraz, the capital of Fars province.
The names of the executed individuals were revealed as Mohammad Ramez Rashidi and Naeem Hashem Qatali.
Although Iran had previously mentioned the involvement of individuals from other countries, including neighboring Afghanistan, the nationalities of the executed men were not immediately disclosed.
In a separate incident on the same day, four assailants killed two Iranian policemen in Zahedan, a Sunni-majority city near the Iran-Afghanistan border.
All four attackers were subsequently killed in clashes with security forces.
The motive behind the attack in Sistan-Baluchistan province, a region prone to unrest and conflicts with Sunni extremists, as well as drug smugglers and Baluchi rebels, remains unclear.
According to Mizan, one of the men executed, Rashidi, confessed to collaborating with IS in carrying out the shrine attack in October.
In March, both men were sentenced to death after being convicted of “corruption on earth, armed rebellion, acting against national security,” and “conspiracy against the security of the country.”
During the same trial, three other defendants received prison sentences of five, 15, and 25 years for their membership in IS.
The main perpetrator of the attack, identified as Hamed Badakhshan, died from injuries sustained during his arrest.
In November, Iran announced the arrest of 26 “takfiri terrorists” from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan in connection with the shrine attack.
In Iran, the term “takfiri” generally refers to jihadists or radical Sunni Islam proponents.
The shrine attack occurred just over a month after protests erupted across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who was arrested in Tehran for allegedly violating the country’s dress code for women.
In October, President Ebrahim Raisi attributed the “riots” (the government’s term for protests) as creating a pathway for “terrorist” attacks.
IS previously claimed responsibility for its first attack in Iran in 2017 when armed men and suicide bombers targeted the parliament in Tehran and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, resulting in the deaths of 17 people and injuring dozens.
Public executions are relatively uncommon in Iran, as the majority of hangings take place within prisons.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups report that Iran executes more people annually than any country except China.
A recent United Nations fact-finding mission called on Tehran to halt its “chilling” practice of executing individuals in connection with the Amini protests.
The mission stated that Iran had executed seven men in relation to the protests.