Israel has sent a message to Hezbollah offering to negotiate a prisoner swap, a senior Iranian official announced to the parliament, Iran‘s semi-official state news agency Fars claimed on Tuesday.
According to the “exclusive” report, National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member Javad Karimi Qoddousi told the Iranian Parliament on Tuesday that Israel was referring to a potential exchange of Iranian diplomats allegedly abducted during the 1982 War in Lebanon for “prisoners of war with European nationalities” fighting in Syria on the side of the anti-Assad rebels, held by Hezbollah.
It is on this basis, said Qoddousi, that “we suppose the Zionists have opened up for negotiations.”
The Iranian diplomats in question, according to the report, are: Seyed Mohsen Mousavi, then-charge d’affaires of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut; military attaché General Ahmad Motevaselian; embassy technician Taghi Rastegar Moghadam; and Islamic Republic News Agency journalist Kazzem Akhavan. Fars said that the four men “were kidnapped by the Lebanese mercenary army — also known as the Falangists — at gunpoint in Northern Lebanon in 1982 and were later handed over to Israeli army.”
Qoddousi pointed to Motevaselian, saying, “The enemy [Israel] is trying to work out a big deal over this big trophy that it has taken from us.” He also claimed that Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to handle the general’s case himself.
On Monday, according to Fars, Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Fathali was quoted by Syrian Muslim Brotherhood publication Al-Ahd saying, “Many existing evidence and reasons show that these diplomats have been abducted by the Zionist regime’s mercenaries and have been transferred to the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Fathali said that Iran is urging UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Red Cross and other human rights bodies to intervene and pressure Israel into extraditing them to Iran.
On Sunday, Fars reported, Seyed Mohsen Mousavi, the son of one of the diplomats also said that there is evidence to suggest that all four are still alive and imprisoned in Israel.
Israel has confirmed neither the holding of the Iranian diplomats nor the claim that it offered to make a deal with Hezbollah for their release.
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal