The Iranian Foreign Ministry says the country's ambassador to Libya has returned to Tripoli following the downfall of Libya's fugitive former ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
“Ali Asghar Naseri, the Islamic Republic's Ambassador to Libya, returned to Tripoli,” the foreign ministry's Information and Press Bureau said, IRNA reported on Wednesday.
Iran had recalled its envoy in protest at a brutal crackdown on Libya's popular uprising, which erupted in mid-February against the four-decade rule of Gaddafi's regime.
“We hope that the presence of the ambassador and the expansion of the activities of our country's embassy, the process of deepening and expanding of bilateral cooperation between Iran and Libya in line with the two countries' interests and benefits will accelerate on a daily basis,” the ministry said in an announcement.
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast announced the return of Tehran's ambassador at a weekly press briefing on Tuesday.
“Iran did not closed its embassy in Libya despite other countries. The Iranian Embassy in Libya continued its activities during the Libyan grave crisis despite dangers to our diplomats,” Mehmanparast said.
“We recalled our ambassador to Libya to show our protest to Libyan government for the suppression of people following the popular moves. The ambassador has left Libya but the embassy had continued its activities in its lowest political level," he explained.
He said the return of the Iranian ambassador came after a request by the head of the Libyan National Transition Council, which had called for Iranian Embassy in Libya “to continue its activities in the highest level.”
“The initial steps were taken and we believe available potentials between Iran and Libya should serve expansion of mutual relations and reconstruction of Libya," the spokesman added.
Libya has been the scene of intense fighting between Gaddafi loyalists and opposition fighters since the outbreak of a popular uprising, encouraged by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in January and February.
Libyan revolutionaries control almost all Libya, expect for the strategic town of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, Sabha, and the fugitive dictator's birthplace Sirt, which remain in the hands of Gaddafi forces while the whereabouts of the fugitive dictator remain unknown.