Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced on Monday May 23 that Iran is in possession of corroborative evidence proving that its four diplomats who were abducted in Lebanon in 1982 are still alive and held in Israeli prisons.
He underlined that the Israelis are responsible for the health of the Iranian diplomats, adding that Tehran will also pursue their fate legally and politically.
The then charge d’affaires of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, Seyed Mohsen Mousavi, military attaché Ahmad Motevaselian, embassy technician Taghi Rastegar Moghadam and journalist of the Islamic Republic News Agency Kazzem Akhavan were kidnapped by the Lebanese mercenary army – also known as the Phalangists – at gunpoint in Northern Lebanon in 1982, and were later handed over to the Israeli army.
Israel has released contradictory reports on the issue. It alleged in a statement last year that the diplomats had never been surrendered to Israel. Elsewhere it claimed, in response to a request put forward by the Lebanese Hezbollah group, that the four were already dead.
In January 2009, the then Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said that Iran had received a report from Israel which said the kidnapped Iranian diplomats had not been transferred to Tel Aviv and laid the blame on the Lebanese mercenary army affiliated with Israel.
In reaction to the report, the spokesman said at the time that the report “will not relieve the Zionist regime of its responsibility” for the health and safe repatriation of the diplomats.