Iranian Interior Minister Ali Akbar Mohtashemi was quoted today as saying all dissidents held in Iranian prisons have been executed.
"To settle this matter once and for all, all those who have been arrested and those who joined them have been executed. They . . . announced war on the people," Mohtashemi told the Arabic, Paris-based magazine Al Mustakbal.
Reports by the United Nations and the London-based human rights organization Amnesty International have put the number of executions in Iran in the last six months at more than 1,000.
"They killed and were killed," Mohtashemi told the magazine, which appeared on Beirut newsstands today.
"Any group which uses weapons to kill people deserves to be executed. It is natural for the liars who committed these crimes to be executed."
Parliamentary Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani, in an interview with French television this month, acknowledged that Iran had executed dissidents but denied killings on the scale reported in the West.
The main Iranian opposition group, the Moujahedeen Khalq, has said 12,000 dissidents have been executed in Iran since the Aug. 20 Persian Gulf war cease-fire.
Earlier this month Iran said it was releasing 2,600 dissidents in an amnesty to mark the 10th anniversary of its revolution.
But it said the amnesty excluded "members of terrorist organizations" and about 900 dissidents convicted of "serious crimes."