Amnesty report on abuses dismissed

Nicosia (Reuter) - Iran's state news agency, IRNA, dismissed Amnesty International allegations of human rights abuses in Iran as lacking in evidence. In the first Iranian reaction to the report, IRNA said Amnesty had merely repeated previous allegations that the government restricted its opponents and that four religious minority leaders were killed under suspicious circumstances.

Amnesty said in a 17-page report that it had uncovered abuses even though Iran shields its activities from foreigners and it urged the government in Tehran to cease the violations. "In the last 16 years, tens of thousands of suspected government opponents have been executed. In addition, a number of political prisoners who have been sentenced to death - some after grossly unfair trials by the Islamic Revolutionary Courts in previous years - are still on death row," the London-based group said.

IRNA quoted "political circles" as saying that Amnesty "has acted as per the policies of the US against Iran" since the 1979 Islamic Revolution toppled the pro-Western Shah.