The Director of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, IRGC-affiliated Owj Media Organization has published a statement insisting that four Iranian government employees abducted, in northern Lebanon in 1982, were killed on the spot.
Meanwhile, “commemorating the name and memory of the abducted diplomats,” Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday, July 3, “Some evidence shows that Iranian diplomats, abducted in Lebanon, have been handed over to the Zionist (Israeli) regime and subsequently transferred to the occupied lands and territories.”
Although there is information about the burial place of the four Iranians, and several groups including an Iranian documentary film crew have seen the evidence of the four men’s killing in northern Lebanon, the Ministry has stressed that it will continue efforts to determine the fate of abducted Iranians it claims are behind bars in Israel.
According to Iranian government officials and media, a military attaché at Tehran’s embassy in Beirut, Ahmad Motovasselian, along with Iranian chargé d’affaires in Lebanon, Mohsen Mousavi, an employee of the embassy, Taqi Rastegar Moqaddam, and a photographer for the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Kazem Akhavan, were abducted on July 4, 1982.
Kataeb Party (also called Phalange), a predominantly Christian Lebanese right-wing party, is responsible for the abduction, Iranian officials have repeatedly maintained.
Since then, there has been no official information about their fate.
Nonetheless, on Friday, July 3, the state-run Mehr News Agency (MNA) published a note signed by the Director-General of the IRGC-linked Owj Arts and Media Organization, Ehsan Mohammad Hassani, claiming that the four were “kidnapped” on the Mediterranean coast by “Lebanese forces” loyal to the executive chairman of the Lebanese Forces at the time, Samir Geagea.
After being kidnapped, the four were killed by a firing squad under Geagea’s control, Mohammad Hassani asserted in his note, adding that the four’s burial site is known.
At the same time, Mohammad Hassani called the IRGC’s extraterritorial arm, the Qods Force, to cooperate with the Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry and search the burial place.
In another part of his note, Mohammad Hassani says, “presuming that the four are still alive,” might have “benefits” for “profit-seeking pragmatic faction.” This is a veiled reference perhaps to some in Iran’s foreign ministry who still insist the kidnapped people are alive and justify a lot of activities promising to free them from Israeli detention.