Israel: Goldwasser, Regev not in Iran

'Alawsat' journalist stands behind report, says his sources are very reliable.

By
October 14, 2007 07:57
1 minute read.
burned regev goldwasser jeep 224 ch 10

burned regev goldwasser . (photo credit: Channel 10)

 
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Both Israeli and Iranian officials denied a report in the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper Sunday claiming that kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were transferred to Iran. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the soldiers were moved last July in an operation directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a short time after the two were kidnapped by Hizbullah in a cross-border raid. The paper further claimed that a deal was in the works involving Iran and Germany, whereby Germany would release Kazem Darabi, an Iranian sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany for murdering four Kurdish dissidents in Berlin in 1992, in return for the kidnapped soldiers. German officials announced last Thursday their intention to release Darabi, a move that was protested by the family of missing airman Ron Arad, who said that Darabi was a valuable "bargaining chip" that could possibly be used to gain information about Arad. Senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office categorically denied the report, labeling it "juicy nonsense" and Iranian "misinformation." Israel Radio quoted an Iranian official close to the Teheran regime as also denying the report, saying it was a blatant attempt to implicate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the kidnapping to place the group on the US's list of terrorist organizations, something currently under consideration. Asharq Al-Awsat journalist Ali Nourizadeh told Israel Radio, however, that the sources claiming Goldwasser and Regev had been transferred to Iran were "very reliable." In an interview with the radio's Arabic newscast, Nourizadeh said that in the past, Israel had also denied claims that Arad was in Iranian hands, which turned out to be true. Late July and again last week, publications in the Arab world have reported that Regev and Goldwasser were in fact dead. Al Hayat last week quoted European sources as the basis of this claim. Goldwasser's wife, Karnit, told Israel Radio Sunday she did not believe the newspaper reports, and that the reservists' families put their faith in "official" sources only. Goldwasser also confirmed that negotiations led by a mediator from the UN have been going on continually. She refused to divulge the level of these talks or the stage of the negotiations. Sunday was the Goldwassers' wedding anniversary, the second to pass with Ehud in captivity. JPost.com Staff contributed to this article.

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