Iran's intelligence minister says the country has reliable information that former head of the al-Qaeda terrorist group Osama bin Laden died of disease some time ago.
“We have accurate information that bin Laden died of illness some time ago,” Heidar Moslehi told reporters on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.
He questioned Washington's claim that bin Laden was killed by American troops in a hiding compound in Pakistan on May 1.
“If the US military and intelligence apparatus have really arrested or killed bin Laden, why don't they show him (his dead body) why have they thrown his corpse into the sea?” Moslehi asked.
“When we apprehended [former Jundallah ringleader Abdul Malik] Rigi, we showed him and also aired his interview,” ISNA quoted the intelligence chief as saying.
By releasing such false news, he said, the White House seeks to overshadow regional awakening.
Moslehi said US officials resort to such PR campaigns to divert attention from their domestic problems as well as their “fragile” economic situation.
US President Barack Obama claimed that Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces on May 1 in a hiding compound in Pakistan.
A US official later announced that bin Laden's body was abruptly buried at sea, falsely boasting that his hasty burial was in accordance with the Islamic law, requiring burial within 24 hours of death.
However, burial at sea is not an Islamic practice and Islam does not have a timeframe for burial.
US officials also claimed their decision for a sea burial was made because no country would accept bin Laden's remains, without elaborating on which countries were actually contacted on the matter.
Analysts, however, have raised serious questions as to why US officials did not allow for the application of a DNA test to officially confirm the identity of the corpse before its hasty burial.