The Iranian ambassador to Beirut has reaffirmed Iran's determination to pursue the fate of the four kidnapped Iranian diplomats, who have been reportedly held captive in Israeli jails for the past 30 years, Press TV reports.
“We … will do our best to free them from the Israeli prisons. We have not found any documents to prove that they have been martyred, but we have many documents that prove they are alive and they are in the Israeli jail.” said Ghazanfar Roknabadi on the sidelines of a ceremony honoring the memory of the abducted four diplomats near the Palestinian border in southern Lebanon.
On July 4, 1982, four Iranian diplomats -- Ahmad Motevaselian, Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam and Kazem Akhavan -- were kidnapped by a group of Israel-backed gunmen at an inspection point in northern Lebanon.
“We are sure that they are still alive. A former prisoner assured us that he had seen them in the Israeli jails back in 2000 and it means that they are still alive. We plan to take legal action against Israel here in Lebanon and later we will file our complaint at an international court,” said Raed Mousavi, son of one of the kidnapped diplomats.
During the 15-year civil war in Lebanon (1975-1990), Christian and Muslim militias fought each other and conducted mutual kidnappings.
The Lebanese forces militia headed by Samir Geagea was known for its close ties with Israel at the time and was responsible for handing over many Lebanese and foreigners to Israeli custody at the peak of Israel’s invasion to Lebanon.
Geagea has made contradictory statements concerning the Iranian diplomats, initially saying that his militia handed them to Israel and later claiming that they witnessed their killing inside Lebanon.
Iranian and Lebanese officials have declared that the issue will be addressed on an international level.
The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah had stressed that the fate of the abducted Iranians had been raised in the indirect negotiations for a prisoner exchange with the Israeli authorities after the 2006 war.
However, Israel has not released any information on the four missing Iranians.