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Iran says it’s still looking for 4 diplomats whose disappearance it blames on Israel

Marking 40th anniversary of Lebanon incident, Iran’s foreign ministry says it is ‘continuing serious efforts’ to determine their fate

A screenshot from an undated video showing Ahmad Motevasselian, military attache of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, right, who is one among four Iranian officials who went missing in Lebanon during the country's war with Israel in 1982. (Screenshot/Twitter)
A screenshot from an undated video showing Ahmad Motevasselian, military attache of the Iranian embassy in Beirut, right, who is one among four Iranian officials who went missing in Lebanon during the country's war with Israel in 1982. (Screenshot/Twitter)

TEHRAN, Iran — Tehran said Wednesday it is “still looking” for four Iranian nationals with diplomatic status who disappeared during Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

“We are continuing serious efforts to determine the fate of the four abducted diplomats,” Iran’s foreign ministry said in a statement issued on the 40th anniversary of their disappearance.

The ministry criticized “the lack of cooperation on the part of the international community and human rights organizations to determine the fate of the abductees.”

Three diplomats and a photographer from the official Iranian news agency IRNA were arrested in northern Lebanon on July 4, 1982, at a checkpoint of the Lebanese Forces, a Christian militia, and have not been seen since.

They were Ahmad Motevasselian, the military attache of the Iranian embassy in Beirut; Mohsen Moussavi, charge d’affaires; Taghi Rastegar-Moghadam, an employee of the embassy; and photojournalist Kazem Akhavan.

Motevasselian was also a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country’s ideological army, which established itself in Lebanon in 1982 and was crucial to the formation of the terror group Hezbollah.

Iran blames Israel for the disappearance, describing those responsible as “agents of the Zionist regime.” In 1982, the Lebanese Forces were armed by Israel.

The Iranian ministry “renewed its calls to the United Nations and relevant human rights agencies to pursue the cases of the four Iranian diplomats and punish the perpetrators of this crime.”

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