Teheran to UN: Israel kidnapped former gov't official

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 1, 2011 01:48

Iranian FM Salehi asks Ban Ki-moon to 'clarify fate' of former deputy defense minister who went missing in Feb. 2007 in Turkey.

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Head of the Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Al

Salehi 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Iran has turned to the United Nations for assistance in finding a former deputy defense minister who went missing in February 2007 while in Turkey, AFP reported on Friday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon requesting he "strive to clarify the fate" of Ali Reza Asghari who disappeared after he checked into a hotel in Istanbul while on a private visit to the city.

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At the time that Asghari was reported missing, Iran accused Israel of kidnapping the official and said that Israeli media reported that the Mossad had abducted him, according to AFP.

Salehi's appeal to the UN followed accusations by Iranian officials and media outlets which cited reports on Israeli media websites that alleged that Asghari had killed himself in an Israeli prison. The officials and media later said that the website reports were removed.

An Israeli prison official told AFP in Jerusalem that he was completely unaware of such reports.

"Without a doubt the release of these reports further strengthens suspicions that Asghari was abducted by the Zionist regime," Salehi wrote in his letter to Ban. He added that Israel is "directly responsible for his life."

Furthermore, Salehi urged for an "opportune response from the international community, especially the organizations responsible for international peace and security."

"The information which was posted on Internet sites of the Zionist regime before being removed clarified the situation," the spokesman of Iran's parliament foreign affairs commission Kazem Jalali said on Wednesday to AFP. "It is perfectly clear that the Zionists have assassinated" Asghari, he added, saying that the chance of Asghari killing himself was "totally illogical."

According a Washington Post report in 2007, Asghari had defected and was working with US intelligence agencies. His family has said that he went missing in December 2006, not in February as reported by the media.


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