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40 years on, Iran urges UN, human rights bodies to determine fate of diplomats abducted in Lebanon

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
On July 4, 1982, the year Israel invaded Lebanon, Iranian diplomts Ahmad Motevasselian, Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam and Kazem Akhavan were kidnapped by a group of Israel-backed gunmen at an inspection post in northern Lebanon.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has renewed calls on the United Nations and relevant human rights bodies to pursue the case of four Iranian diplomats abducted in Lebanon back in 1982 and punish the perpetrators of this crime and all those who breached diplomatic law.

In a Tuesday statement released on the 40th anniversary of the abduction of the diplomats, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said it would continue serious efforts to determine the fate of the four kidnapped diplomats.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran expects all human rights bodies and the United Nations to take the necessary measures through appropriate mechanisms to force the Zionists into having maximum cooperation in order to clarify the fate of the dear diplomats and pave the way for the punishment of the perpetrators of the crime and the violators of diplomatic law," it said.

It noted that the abduction was in blatant violation of the Vienna Convention (1961) on diplomatic immunity and rights for all diplomats.

According to the statement, Iran believes that the Israeli regime and its allies “bear full legal and political responsibility” for the kidnapping of the four diplomats.

The ministry criticized lack of proper cooperation from the international community and human rights bodies to determine the fate of the abductees.

The Israeli regime, which is not committed to any international human rights regulations, has always shirked its responsibility due to the silence of the international community over its crimes, it emphasized.

The ministry hailed Lebanon's efforts to clarify the fate of the Iranian diplomats and stressed the importance of forming a fact-finding committee between the two countries in cooperation with international bodies.

On July 4, 1982, four Iranian diplomats -- Ahmad Motevasselian, Seyyed Mohsen Mousavi, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam and Kazem Akhavan -- were kidnapped by a group of Israeli-backed gunmen at an inspection post in northern Lebanon.

In September 2008, the Lebanese government sent a letter to then UN chief Ban Ki-moon, in which Beirut confirmed the abduction of the Iranian diplomats in the Lebanese territory and called for UN action to pursue the case.

Israel has claimed that the Iranian diplomats were abducted by Lebanese Phalange forces and killed shortly after their abduction. The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has, however, said that it has evidence that they are still alive and in Israeli captivity.


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