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Iran calls for ICRC help on Asgari case

Iran has urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help determine the fate of a former Iranian deputy minister who has reportedly died in Israeli detention.

In a message to ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger, Iran’s caretaker Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi expressed concern over recent report about the alleged death of former Iranian deputy defense minister Ali-Reza Asgari.

Asgari mysteriously disappeared in Turkey in 2007. He was believed to have been abducted and transferred to Israel.

A report by the Israeli website Ynet last week stated that a prisoner had committed suicide in solitary confinement in Israel’s Ayalon prison.

The Eurasia Review website claimed that a source within the “inner circle” of the Israeli Defense Ministry had identified the prisoner as Asgari and that his death could have been a murder and not suicide.

“Iran has always paid much attention to the significant and prominent role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in pursuing humanitarian affairs,” Salehi said in his message on Monday.

In addition to violation of international principles, Ali-Reza Asgari’s abduction has certain humanitarian aspects too; therefore it is expected of the ICRC to make concerted effort and use all its capacities to determine the fate of the aforementioned individual, Salehi added.

On Thursday, Salehi also called on the United Nations for assistance in the case of Asgari, stressing that Israel must be held accountable for the health and safety of the former Iranian deputy defense minister.

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